"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." - John Ernst Steinbeck III ; As quoted in A Short History of Progress (2004) by Ronald Wright. This has since been cited as a direct quote by some, but the remark may simply be a paraphrase, as no quotation marks appear around the statement and no earlier publication of this phrasing has been located.
"The colonization of the Southern economy by capitalists from the North gave lynching its most vigorous impulse. If Black people, by means of terror and violence, could remain the most brutally exploited group within the swelling ranks of the working class, the capitalists could enjoy a double advantage. Extra profits would result from the superexploitation of Black labor, and white workers’ hostilities toward their employers would be defused. White workers who assented to lynching necessarily assumed a posture of racial solidarity with the white men who were really their oppressors. This was a critical moment in the popularization of racist ideology." - Angela Davis ; Women, Race and Class
"There must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism. Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God's children." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; May 1965 speech to the Negro American Labor Council