Selected Eleanor Holmes Norton Quotations
• The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with.
• There is no reason to repeat bad history.
• The question has been asked, “What is a woman?” A woman is a person who makes choices. A woman is a dreamer. A woman is a planner. A woman is a maker, and a molder. A woman is a person who makes choices. A woman builds bridges. A woman makes children and makes cars. A woman writes poetry and songs. A woman is a person who makes choices. You cannot even simply become a mother anymore. You must choose motherhood. Will you choose change? Can you become its vanguard?
• I have not been animated in my life to fight against race and sex discrimination simply because of my own identity. That would mean that one must be South African to fight apartheid, or a poor white in Appalachia to fight poverty, or Jewish to fight anti-Semitism. And I just reject that conception of how struggles should be waged.
• The essence of a free life is being able to choose the style of living you prefer free from exclusion and without the compulsion of conformity or law.
• Affirmative action is the most important modern anti-discrimination technique ever instituted in the United States. It is the one tool that has had a demonstrable effect on discrimination. No one who knows anything about the subject would say it hasn't worked. It has certainly done something, or else it wouldn't have provoked so much opposition.
• Affirmative action, by all statistical measures, has been the central ingredient to the creation of the Black middle class.
• Most people think civil rights today is about "whether or not I'm turning down somebody at the door because he is black or female." It doesn't happen that way anymore. It is more subtle. It happens when women are asked at a job interview, "Do you intend to get pregnant within the next two years?" And it happens to women much more than it happens to blacks, because blacks have spent more than 300 years trying to educate the country about how perverse it all is.
• I don't for a moment believe that women have suffered the same kind of injustices that blacks have -- women have never been enslaved. But still, many of the psychological and economic problems are the same. This country would go bankrupt in a day if the Supreme Court suddenly ordered the powers-that-be to pay back wages to children of slaves and to the women who've worked all their lives for half wages or no pay.
• With children no longer the universally accepted reason for marriage, marriages are going to have to exist on their own merits.
• There are not many males, black or white, who wish to get involved with a woman who's committed to her own development.
• I am proud to be an American, proud to represent 600,000 Americans, and proud to be in the only party pledged to make the District of Columbia the 51st state.
• You can't whip folks into line on statehood like you can on a budget vote. People have to believe in your cause.
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About These Quotes
Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2005. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Eleanor Holmes Norton Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/norton.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)