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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Leon Lederman

Nobel Prize in Physics

Leon Lederman: When you have set-backs, you cry, you saw on your wrists with a butter knife or something, so it doesn't do permanent damage. Yeah, you get depressed, and you work at it, because what else can you do? I think that's probably true. You can get discouraged. They have a lot of discouragement in this. You know, more often than not, things don't work. It's the ordinariness of nature and equipment, and so on, that things don't work. So you get too used to that pretty soon and you know that sooner or later something may work.
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John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

John Lewis: Somehow, in some way, I just felt that we were involved in something that was so large, so necessary, so right. It was almost holy. It was something very righteous and something very pure about it. I was sitting there with other young college students. For the most part we were well dressed, we were orderly, we were peaceful, and we were looking straight ahead, or either we were doing our homework, and people would come up and call us "niggers." They would come up and spit on us, put lighted cigarettes out in our hair or down our backs, pull us off the lunch counter stool, and we didn't strike back. At times we would just look straight ahead. I just felt that we had to do what we were doing and that it was necessary.
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John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

I will never forget in late February 1960, one morning we were preparing to sit in, and a very influential citizen of Nashville came to the church where we were gathering and said if we go down on this particular day the officials were going to allow people to beat us, to pull us off the lunch counter stools, and then going to arrest us, and, "Maybe you shouldn't go. Maybe it's too dangerous." And we all said we had to go, and we went down. When I was growing up, my mother and father and family members said, "Don't get in trouble. Don't get in the way." I got in trouble. I got in the way. It was necessary trouble. While we were sitting there and we were being pulled off the lunch counter stools and then beaten, the local officials, police officials, the chief of police and others, came up and placed us all under arrest. I was arrested along with 87 other students. The Nashville sit-ins became the first mass arrest in the sit-in movement, and I was taken to jail. I'll tell you, I felt so liberated. I felt so free. I felt like I had crossed over. I think I said to myself, "What else can you do to me? You beat me. You harassed me. Now you have placed me under arrest. You put us in jail. What's left? You can kill us?" But as a group, and I know as one person, we were determined to see the end of segregation and racial discrimination in places of public accommodation. So I lost my sense of fear. You know, no one would like to be beaten. No one would like to go to jail. Jail is not a pleasant place. No one liked to suffer pain, but for the common good we were committed.
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John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

John Lewis: As we started walking across the Alabama River, across the Edmund Pettus bridge, I really thought that we would be arrested and taken to jail. I was prepared to be arrested, and I was wearing a backpack, and in this backpack I had two books, an apple, an orange, toothbrush and toothpaste. I thought we were going to go to jail. I wanted to have something to read, something to eat, and since I was going to be in jail with my friends, colleagues and neighbors, I wanted to be able to brush my teeth. And we get to the high point, highest point on that bridge. Down below we saw the Alabama State Troopers, the Sheriff's Deputies, members of Sheriff Clark's posse, and when Major John Claude said, "This is an unlawful march." I think he said, "I am Major John Claude of the Alabama State Troopers. This is an unlawful march. You will not be allowed to continue. I give you three minutes to disperse and return to your church." And I think Hosea Williams said, "Major, will you give us a moment to pray?" And before we could even get word back, he said, "Troopers advance." I knew then that we were going to be beaten. And you saw these men putting on their gas masks and they came towards us beating us with night sticks, pushing us, trampling us with horses, and releasing the tear gas. I became very concerned about the other people in the march, because I thought I was going to die. I just sort of said to myself, "This is it. This is the end of the road for me. I'm going to die right here on this bridge." And to this day, 39 years later, I don't know how I made it back across the bridge, through the streets of Selma, back to that little church that we left from, but I do recall being back at that church that Sunday afternoon.
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Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

I tried anything to try to protect the design. The AIA was wonderful, you know, the arts groups were. But you know, I was sort of like untouchable because everyone didn't quite know how people would react to it. And then, a year later, when like the millionth visitor came to it, everybody wanted to say hello, that sort of thing. And I was a little jaded. My attitude is: I'm glad it's a success. I'm glad people really are moved by it, that was its goal. But you do these things because you personally believe in it. And it was lonely. I mean, it was lonely being in this one testifying room where everyone else was on the other side looking at me like I was trying to deliberately hurt them.
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