When they reached their ship, Ed gazed out at the bay. It was black. The sky was black, but the bay was even blacker. It was a slick, oily blackness that glowed and reflected the moonlight like a black jewel. Ed saw the tiny specks of light around the edges of the bay where he knew ships must be docked, and at different points within the bay where vessels would be anchored. The lights were pale and sickly yellow when compared with the bright blue-white sparkle of the stars overhead, but the stars glinted hard as diamonds, cold as ice. Pg. 26.
The relevant question is not whether back then a few extraordinary individuals could overcome a system strongly weighted against them or whether today an admittedly far greater number requiring far less talent can succeed. The real question is whether it's harder for the people in this audience to succeed be they extraordinary, average, or below average. If it is, and I think it obvious that it is, then that's untenable in a country that purports to provide equal opportunity for all. Now of course you'll dispute my claim that it is more difficult to succeed for them. You say the battle's over. I say not only is it not over but you yourself are stationed on the frontline of the battle and have been all these years. This room and the criminal justice system as a whole is the frontline. This is where modern-day segregation lives on.
I wonder what Lincoln would that thought, after emancipating slavery from its segregation of white from black, only to slap him on the US currency, where a veiled segregation by income exists. A form of slavery that evolves separating the rich from the poor, as poverty strikes its relentless whip. The many that fall deep under its rule of dept, unable to free themselves into a comfortable retirement.
[Solitary confinement] is terrible. That is terrible. You're in a grave. You can't do anything. Everything's brought to you and you're in a room all day, except to come out of the showers. So when I would come out, I would entertain myself by singing, doing little mock concerts. And then when I was in the room, I would develop a routine. Like I have a lot of hair under here, so I would take my hair down and take all day to braid it on purpose. Stretch the hours out. Then I might write. And I would clean the floor. And I would look out the window. And then I'd devote a whole day to just reading. I was Christian then, trying to be. So I would read the whole Bible. I would break it down into sections. You're in a grave and you're trying to live. That's how to best describe it: trying to live in a grave. You're trying to live 'cause you're not dead yet, but nobody hears you when you call out, 'Hey, I'm alive!