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Rosa Parks

Pioneer of Civil Rights

Two policemen came on the bus and one asked me if the driver had told me to stand and I said, "Yes." And he wanted to know why I didn't stand, and I told him I didn't think I should have to stand up. And then I asked him, why did they push us around? And he said, and I quote him, "I don't know, but the law is the law and you are under arrest."
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Rosa Parks

Pioneer of Civil Rights

Rosa Parks: Back in Montgomery during my growing up there, it was completely legally enforced racial segregation, and of course, I struggled against it for a long time. I felt that it was not right to be deprived of freedom when we were living in the Home of the Brave and Land of the Free. Of course, when I refused to stand up, on the orders of the bus driver, for a white passenger to take the seat, and I was not sitting in the front of the bus, as so many people have said, and neither was my feet hurting, as many people have said. But I made up my mind that I would not give in any longer to legally-imposed racial segregation and of course my arrest brought about the protests for more than a year. And in doing so, Dr. Martin Luther King became prominent because he was the leader of our protests along with many other people. And I'm very glad that this experience I had then brought about a movement that triggered across the United States and in other places.
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Suzan-Lori Parks

Pulitzer Prize for Drama

I went to one show, and I heard someone say, "Alisa Solomon is here," something like that, and I looked up. I knew she was the very much esteemed critic from the Village Voice, and then, as luck would have it, we were both on the same train. It was an empty train car, late at night. I can look strange late at night in an empty train car. Little did I know, she's a third-degree black belt in karate. I didn't know this. So she's at the other end of the car, and I'm like, "Oh man, here's my chance." Desperation. I'd go walking up to her. Little did I know, she's getting ready to Hai ya! Luckily, she didn't hit me, and allowed me to say, "Excuse me. You're Alisa Solomon. I'm a desperate playwright. Where do I send my work?" She rattled off some places. She was very kind, very kind, and we're still friends today.
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Suzan-Lori Parks

Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Suzan-Lori Parks: Don't be afraid to go up to someone who's maybe further along in their career than you are and ask them for their advice. The kind of advice -- I mean, for example, I did not go up to her and say, "Hi. I'm a playwright. Could you read my play?" I didn't, because I knew better. I just said, "Off the top of your head, do you have any advice?" That kind of thing. So approach these people with respect for their time, but do approach them, definitely, because we all will say, "Oh, do such and such," or whatever.
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Linus Pauling

Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Peace

Linus Pauling: Well, back in 1945, my first talks were just pedagogical. I was just explaining nuclear fission. Then I began rather gradually expressing the opinion that the time had come to work for international treaties and international law to settle disputes rather than to use the barbaric method of war, made especially barbaric by the nuclear weapons. So, I was working toward the goal of a world without war. But, I didn't ever think that I would attain the sort of prominence in this effort that I have attained. The McCarthy period came along, of course -- 1950, '51, '52 -- and many of the other people who had been scientists who had been working on these same lines, gave up. Probably saying, "Why should I sacrifice myself? I am a scientist. I am supposed to be working on scientific things, so I don't need to put myself at risk by talking about these possibilities." And, I have said, perhaps I'm just stubborn. I don't like the idea. I have said, "I don't like anybody to tell me what to do or to think, except Mrs. Pauling."
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