It's been a great week to be an American. Just when we thought we had lost our faith in humanity, our country showed, well, signs of humanity. Confederate flags started coming down, and the Supreme Court voted in support of affordable health care, fair housing, and marriage equality.
In other words, this holiday could not have come at a better time.
Today we celebrate not only our founding fathers but all the courageous people in our nation's history who stood up for change. The leaders. The fighters. The lovers. The rule breakers. The change makers.
So, we gathered some of our favorite quotes from the United States' best and brightest to inspire you to go fo(u)rth and conquer, just as they did.
18 Quotes From American Trailblazers
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." — Eleanor Roosevelt
"Hold fast to your dreams, for without them life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." — Langston Hughes
"What better reason to risk your own freedom than to fight for the freedom of others?" — Bree Newsome
"When you’re finished changing, you’re finished." ― Ben Franklin
"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." — Maya Angelou
"It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions." — Harvey Milk
"Remember that consciousness is power. Tomorrow's world is yours to build." — Yuri Kochiyama
"There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained." — W. E. B. Du Bois
"We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love. That's OK." — Laverne Cox
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves." — Abraham Lincoln
"I think of my body as a tool to do the stuff I need to do, but not the be all end all of my existence." — Lena Dunham
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." — Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity." — Justice Anthony Kennedy
"There is not a woman born who desires to eat the bread of dependence." — Susan B. Anthony
"If we're ever going to collectively begin to grapple with the problems that we have collectively, we're going to have to move back the veil and deal with each other on a more human level." — Wilma Mankiller
"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me ... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being." — Jackie Robinson
"Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself." — Gloria Steinem
“America isn't Congress. America isn't Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business, or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kid a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger.” — President Barack Obama