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Quotations #27:
African American Expression

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Authors / Speakers: A-B | C-D | E-F | G-H | I-J | K-L | M-N | O-P | Q-R | S-T | U-V | W-X | Y-Z

Selected Biographical Notes

- G -
  1. There will always be men struggling to change, and there will always be those who are controlled by the past.
    --Ernest J. Gaines, interview with John O'Brien, 1991


  2. Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.
    --Ernest J. Gaines


  3. Words mean nothing. Action is the only thing. Doing. That's the only thing.
    --Ernest J. Gaines


  4. The mark of fear is not easily removed.
    --Ernest J. Gaines, 1971


  5. Sometimes you got to hurt something to help something. Sometimes you have to plow under one thing in order for something else to grow.
    --Ernest J. Gaines, 1983


  6. I have learned as much about writing about my people by listening to blues and jazz and spirituals as I have from reading novels. The understatements in the tenor saxophone of Lester Young, the crystal, haunting, forever searching sounds of John Coltrane, and the softness and violence of Count Basie's big band--all have fired my imagination as much as anything in literature.
    --Ernest J. Gaines, 1991


  7. Mama and I would go to a funeral and she'd stand up to read the dead person's eulogy. She made the ignorant and ugly sound like scholars and movie stars, turned the mean and evil into saints and angels. She knew what people had meant to be in their hearts, not what the world had forced them to become. She knew the ways in which working too hard for paltry wages could turn you mean and cold, could kill the thing that made you laugh.
    --Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 1994


  8. I sing about life.
    --Marvin Gaye, 1984


  9. Marriage is miserable unless you find the right person that is your soulmate and that takes a lot of looking.
    --Marvin Gaye, 1983


  10. I hope to refine music, study it, try to find some area that I can unlock. I don't quite know how to explain it but it's there. These can't be the only notes in the world, there's got to be other notes some place, in some dimension, between the cracks on the piano keys.
    --Marvin Gaye, 1971


  11. If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.
    --Marvin Gaye


  12. Great artists suffer for the people.
    --Marvin Gaye


  13. Being champion is all well and good, but you can't eat a crown.
    --Althea Gibson


  14. I don't want to be put on a pedestal. I just want to be reasonably successful and live a normal life with all the conveniences to make it so.
    --Althea Gibson


  15. In sports, you simply aren't considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves you are the best.
    --Althea Gibson


  16. I always wanted to be somebody. If I made it, it's half because I was game enough to take a lot of punishment along the way and half because there were a lot of people who cared enough to help me.
    --Althea Gibson


  17. Most of us who aspire to be tops in our fields don't really consider the amount of work required to stay tops.
    --Althea Gibson


  18. In the field of sports you are more or less accepted for what you do rather than what you are.
    --Althea Gibson


  19. Shaking hands with the Queen of England was a long way from being forced to sit in the colored section of the bus going into downtown Wilmington, North Carolina.
    --Althea Gibson


  20. When I was playing I never wished I was doing anything else. I think being a professional athlete is the finest thing a man can do.
    --Bob Gibson, 1982


  21. Why do I jave to be an example for your kid? You be an example for your own kid.
    --Bob Gibson


  22. In a world filled with hate, prejudice, and protest, I find that I too am filled with hate, prejudice, and protest.
    --Bob Gibson, 1968


  23. I don't care much about music. What I like is sounds.
    --Dizzy Gillespie (John Birks Gillespie), 1977


  24. I always try to teach by example and not force my ideas on a young musician. One of the reasons we're here is to be a part of this process of exchange.
    --Dizzy Gillespie


  25. It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play.
    --Dizzy Gillespie


  26. They're not particular about whether you're playing a flatted fifth or a ruptured 129th as long as they can dance to it
    --Dizzy Gillespie


  27. You, my children of battle, are your heroes
    You must invent your own games and teach us old ones how to play.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  28. We eat up artists like there's going to be a famine at the end.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  29. We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained.
    --Nikki Giovanni, 1984


  30. I really don't think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don't mind the failure but I can't imagine that I'd forgive myself if I didn't try.
    --Nikki Giovanni, 1984


  31. I like to tell the truth as I see it. That's why literature is so important. We cannot possibly leave it to history as a discipline nor to sociology nor science nor economics to tell the story of our people. It's not a ladder we are climbing, it's literature we're producing, and there will always be someone to read it.
    --Nikki Giovanni 1984


  32. Art is not for the cultivated taste. It is to cultivate taste.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  33. Everything will change. The only question is growing up or decaying.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  34. If you don't understand yourself you don't understand anybody else.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  35. We love because it's the only true adventure.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  36. If now isn't a good time for the truth I don't see when we'll get to it.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  37. Sacred cows make very poor gladiators.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  38. Some say we are responsible for those we love. Others know we are responsible for those who love us.
    --Nikki Giovanni


  39. Poor people are allowed the same dreams as everyone else.
    --Kimi Gray, 1988


  40. America will tolerate the taking of a human life without giving it a second thought. But don't misuse a household pet.
    --Dick Gregory, The Shadow that Scares Me, 1968


  41. I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that.
    --Dick Gregory, 1964


  42. When you have a good mother and no father, God kind of sits in. It's not enough, but it helps.
    --Dick Gregory, 1964


  43. We thought I was going to be a great athlete, and we were wrong, and I thought I was going to be a great entertainer, and that wasn't it either. I'm going to be an American Citizen. First class.
    --Dick Gregory, 1964


  44. In America, with all of its evils and faults, you can still reach through the forest and see the sun. But we don't know yet whether that sun is rising or setting for our country.
    --Dick Gregory, 1964


  45. Provoking, isn't it? that when one is most in need of sensible words, one finds them not.
    --Charlotte L. Forten Grimke, 1953


  46. I wonder that every colored person is not a misanthrope. Surely we have everything to make us hate mankind.
    --Charlotte L. Forten Grimke, 1953


  47. It is only what is written upon the soul of man that will survive the wreck of time.
    --Francis J. Grimke, 1927




- H -
  1. I make an active effort to remain a positive role model to kids. They need people to show them there's another way.
    --M. C. Hammer, 1991


  2. I never wanted to be a star, I just wanted to get work.
    --Gregory Hines, 1992


  3. I never had a chance to play with dolls like other kids. I started working when I was six years old.
    --Billie Holiday, 1948


  4. Dope never helped anybody sing better or play music better or do anything better. All dope can do for you is kill you -- and kill you the long, slow, hard way.
    --Billie Holiday, 1956


  5. Singing songs like 'The Man I Love' or 'Porgy' is no more work than sitting down and eating Chinese roast duck, and I love roast duck.
    --Billie Holiday


  6. You've got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body's sermon on how how to behave.
    --Billie Holiday


  7. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. No two people on earth are alike, and it's got to be that way in music or it isn't music.
    --Billie Holiday


  8. I can't stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession, let alone two years or ten years. If you can, then it ain't music, it's close-order drill or exercise or yodeling or something, not music.
    --Billie Holiday


  9. I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That's all I know.
    --Billie Holiday


  10. Love is like a faucet, it turns off and on.
    --Billie Holiday


  11. Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough.
    --Billie Holiday


  12. Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose.
    --Billie Holiday


  13. If I don't have friends, then I ain't nothing.
    --Billie Holiday


  14. I don't think about time. You're here when you're here. I think about today, staying in tune.
    --John Lee Hooker


  15. Don't be afraid to feel as angry or as loving as you can, because when you feel nothing, it's just death.
    --Lena Horne


  16. It is not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
    --Lena Horne


  17. It's so nice to get flowers while you can still smell the fragrance
    --Lena Horne


  18. Always be smarter than the people who hire you.
    --Lena Horne


  19. It's ill-becoming for an old broad to sing about how bad she wants it. But occasionally we do.
    --Lena Horne


  20. Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it.
    --Langston Hughes, 1966


  21. I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
    --Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me, 1928


  22. Belief in magic is older than writing.
      -- Zora Neal Hurston, Mules and Men 1935


  23. In the beginning there was neither nothing nor anything. Darkness hid in darkness -- shrouded in nothingness.
      -- Zora Neal Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain 1939




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