Celebrate the legacies of these luminaries who passed away in 2017 through the uncompromising, wise and poignant things they said.

“I waited at the counter of a White restaurant for 11 years. When they finally integrated, they didn’t have what I wanted.”—comedian and activist Dick Gregory (October 12, 1932—August 19, 2017)

Photo: Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images Black man with grey hair and beard stands in black suit and grey tie behind black podium and microphone and microphone stand in front of orange curtain and black wall Dick Gregory attends the Roger Ebert Memorial Tribute at Chicago Theatre on April 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.

“We had reached a point in history where we could not tolerate the abuse any longer, where mothers could not tolerate the mistreatment that goes on on the reservations any longer.”—American Indian Movement co-founder and activist Dennis Banks (April 12, 1937—October 29, 2017)

Brown man with black leather jacket and headband and blue shirt in front of green trees Colorlines screenshot of Native activist and American Indian Movement co-founder Dennis Banks, taken from Facebook on October 31, 2017.

“It is important for us to show the world we can stand together as one people. It’s even more important for our youth to see us standing together and fighting for what what is right. It shows them that they can push back against a corrupt system without being a so-called thug.”—anti-racist activist Erica Garner (May 29, 1990—December 30, 2017)

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images Black woman in red t-shirt and brown striped hat and black scarf speaks into black receiver attached to brown megaphone in front of black sky Erica Garner, daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner, leads a July 2017 protest for police accountability in Staten Island, New York.

“We stand by our Sanctuary City because we want everybody to feel safe and utilize the services they deserve, including education and health care. …It is my obligation to keep our city united, keep it strong.”—first Asian-American mayor of San Francisco, Edwin “Ed” Lee (May 5, 1952—December 12, 2017)

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images Asian man in black glasses and suit with blue shirt and patterned tie sits on black leather chair in front of purple screen with black and white text San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee speaks onstage during “A World of Cities” at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California.

“The peoples there—they seemed like they wasn’t concerned about what happened to me, and they didn’t try and do nothing about it. I can’t help but tell the truth of what they done to me.”—rape survivor and activist Recy Taylor (December 31, 1919—December 28, 2017)

Sepia image of Black woman in black-and-white patterned dress and hat in front of brown background Colorlines screenshot of an archival image of Recy Taylor, taken from the "The Rape of Recy Taylor" film's Facebook page on November 21, 2017.

“I want to represent for all the females. I want them all to know that. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing. Don’t let no one discourage you.”—Bay Area DJ Pam “The Funkstress” Warren (November 17, 1966—December 22, 2017)

Black woman in pink shirt behind grey turntables with brown records in front of multicolored graffiti artwork on white wall Colorlines screenshot of Pam the Funkstress, taken from Twitter on December 30, 2017.

“Everybody started calling my music rock ‘n roll, but it wasn’t anything but the same rhythm and blues I’d been playing down in New Orleans.”—R&B music pioneer Antoine “Fats” Domino (February 26, 1928—October 24, 2017)

Black-and-white image of Black man in dark suit with patterned tie on piano in front of grey background Colorlines screenshot of Fats Domino, taken from the artist's official Facebook page on October 25, 2017.

“Remember that my view, the only true view I can see with, is through the Black eyes that I have.”—rock n’ roll music pioneer Chuck Berry (October 18, 1926—March 18, 2017)

Francois Durand/Getty Images Black man in purple shirt and navy and white sailors hat holds dark red guitar in front of black and orange background Chuck Berry performs at the "Les Legendes Du Rock and Roll" concert at the Zenith on November 14, 2008 in Paris, France.

“I believe everyone has a gift, an ability. Something that you actually realize and start to hone. There are people who are acknowledged as the top electrician. The top dentist. The number-one brain surgeon. There are people who’ve become millionaires from plumbing.”—comedian and actor Charlie Murphy (July 12, 1950—April 12, 2017)

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Black man in black leather suit and black sunglasses in front of brown wall with gold and black insignia Charlie Murphy arrives at Spike TV's "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only" at the Saban Theatre on November 3, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.

“They don’t give a fuck about they own poor White trash/Just imagine how they feel about my Black ass/Fuck Christopher Columbus, the Indians was here first/And fuck the Vatican, the pyramids is older”—rapper and author Albert “Prodigy” Johnson (November 2, 1974—June 20, 2017)

Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images Black man in white and navy baseball cap and grey hoodie with black tattoos sits behind white microphone with purple cable in front of orange and white and black screen Prodigy speaks during the 2012 Rock the Bells Festival press conference at Santos Party House on June 13, 2012 in New York City.

“When White people play a character, people expect it to be a character. But Black people—we can’t just be character actors, we have to [really] be the things we’re hired for, which is what offends me.”—actor Nelsan Ellis (November 3, 1977—July 8, 2017)

Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images Black man in black fedora and shirt and grey suit jacket in front of blurry brown and green background Nelsan Ellis arrives at the premiere of HBO's "True Blood" Season 3 at The Cinerama Dome on June 8, 2010 in Hollywood, California.

“’Benson’ upgrades the image of the Black ordinary working man. He’s a character with wit and intelligence—no great ambition, no great philosophy. …We have not had an opportunity as actors to be ordinary.”—actor and “Benson” star Robert Guillaume (November 30, 1927—October 24, 2017)

Photo: Evan Agostini/Getty Images Black man in blue dress shirt and black jacket and patterned tie in front of black and brown background Robert Guillaume attends the world premiere of 'Big Fish' at the Ziegfeld Theater December 4, 2003 in New York City.

“So whatever it is you want, need or desire or just like to have, you better try to get it now, ‘cause this is the only time there is.”—gospel musician and actress Della Reese (July 6, 1931—November 19, 2017)

Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Black woman in pink dress with black and white components holds black microphone in front of black background Della Reese performs onstage at B.B. King's 80th birthday celebration at the home of Sam and Mary Haskell on September 20, 2005 in Encino, California.

“Dream those dreams. …Life without dreams is black and white, and the universe flows in technicolor and surround sound.”—Reggie “Combat Jack” Ossé (July 8, 1969 – December 20, 2017)

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Spotify A bald Black man wearing glasses and a gray suit speaks into a microphone onstage Reggie "Combat Jack" Ossé speaks on stage at the Spotify "Mogul" launch party celebrating the life of Chris Lighty at Marquee on May 8, 2017 in New York City.