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When we talk of the equality of man, we find, also, a challenge and an opportunity; a challenge to breathe new life into the ideals enshrined in the [United Nations] Charter, an opportunity to bring men closer to freedom and true equality…

The goal of the equality of man which we seek is the antithesis of the exploitation of one people by another with which the pages of history… speak at such length. Exploitation, thus viewed, has many faces. But whatever guise it assumes, this evil is to be shunned where it does not exist and crushed where it does…

As a free Africa has emerged during the past decade, a fresh attack has been launched against exploitation, wherever it still exists. And in that interaction so common to history, this in turn, has stimulated and encouraged the remaining dependent peoples to renewed efforts to throw off the yoke which has oppressed them and its claim as their birthright the twin ideals of liberty and equality… In the United States of America, the administration of President Kennedy is leading a vigorous attack to eradicate the remaining vestige of racial discrimination from this country…

Last May, in Addis Ababa, I convened a meeting of Heads of African States and Governments… On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will learn, this further lesson:

that until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned;

that until there are no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation;

that until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes;

that until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race;

that until that day, the dream of lasting peace… and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained…

until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil…

We must look, first, to Almighty God, Who has raised man above the animals and endowed him with intelligence and reason. We must put our faith in Him, that He will not desert us or permit us to destroy humanity which He created in His image.

And we must look into ourselves, into the depth of our souls. We must become something we have never been and for which our education and experience and environment have ill-prepared us. We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit…owing our ultimate allegiance…to our fellow men within the human community.

Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, before the United Nations in 1963, explaining the difficult struggle of that time against colonialism, apartheid, and Jim Crow segregation around the world, a struggle that still goes on today. The school reform movement is engaged in much the same battle, this against policies and practices that damage the futures of children, especially from poor and minority backgrounds. And the words Selassie spoke five decades ago are ones we must echo in our time.