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Quotations #27:
African American Expression

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Selected Biographical Notes

- W -
  1. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
    --Alice Walker, The Color Purpple , 1982


  2. Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful.
    --Alice Walker, Temple of my FFamiliar, 1989


  3. To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves, that the line stretches all the way back, perhaps to God, or to Gods. We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget; that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love, and die. The grace with which we embrace life, inspite of the pain, the sorrows, is always a measure of what has gone before.
    --Alice Walker, In These Disseenting Times, 1970


  4. All the people who are as alone as I am will one day gather at the river. We will watch the evening sun go down. And in the darkness maybe we will know the truth.
    --Alice Walker, Meridian, 1976


  5. Poetry, I have discovered, is always unexpected and always as faithful and honest as dreams.
    --Alice Walker, We Have a Beauutiful Mother, 1991


  6. I believe in the soul. Furthermore, I believe it is prompt accountability for one's choices, a willing acceptance of responsibility for one's thoughts, behavior, and actions that makes it powerful.
    --Alice Walker, Grace Copelaand , 1988


  7. Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come; you have to get up and make them.
    --Madame C.J. Walker (Sarah Breeddlove), 1914


  8. America doesn't respect anything but money. What our people need is a few millionaires.
    --Madame C.J. Walker (Sarah Breeedlove), 1914


  9. Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.
    --Booker T. Washington, 1901
  10. >

  11. The riots in Los Angeles and other cities shocked the world. The shouldn't have. Many of us have watched our country -- including our government -- neglect the problems, indeed the people, of our inner cities for years -- even as matters reached a crisis stage. For years they have been crying out for help. For years, their cries have not been heard.
    --Maxine Waters, Testimony beforee thhe Senate after the Los Angeles Riots , 1992


  12. I had already found that motherhood was a profession by itself, just like schoolteaching and lecturing, and that once one was launched on such a career, she owed it to herself to become as expert as possible in the practice of her profession.
    --Ida B. Wells, The Red Recoord , 1895


  13. Out of their own mouthes shall the murderers be condemned
    --Ida B. Wells, The Red Recoord , 1895


  14. Where there is no vision, the people perish; where there is no framework of moral reasoning, the people close ranks in a war of all against all.
    --Cornel West, Race Matters , 1993


  15. Black people have always been America's wilderness in search of a promised land.
    --Cornel West, Race Matters , 1993


  16. The West is color. Its colors are animal rather than vegetable, the colors of earth and sunlight and ripeness.
    --Jessamyn West, 1956

  17. In every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we shall call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance; and by the leave of our Modern Egyptians I will assert, that the same Principle lives in us.
    --Phillis Wheatley , letter to Saamson Occom, February 11, 1774


  18. Imagination! who can sing thy force?
    Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
    We on thy pinions can surpass the wind
    And leave the rolling universe behind.
    --Phillis Wheatley, On Imaginnation


  19. The world is a severe schoolmaster, for its frowns are less dangerous than its smiles and flatteries, and it is a difficult task to keep in the path of wisdom.
    --Phillis Wheatley , letter to Joohn Thornton, October 30, 1774


  20. All moral principles are universal in their nature, and application: they embrace "all men" without distinction.
    --William Whipper, 1835


  21. The Strong survive. The ones who are strong and lucky.
    --John Edgar Wideman, Brothers and Keepers, 1984


  22. Evey step and the way you take it here on enemy ground is a lesson.
    --John Edgar Wideman, Brothers and Keepers, 1984


  23. I'm on my own two feet. Learning to stand, to walk, learning to dance.
    --John Edgar Wideman, Sent for You Yesterday, 1983


  24. Prison time must be hardtime, a metaphorical death, a sustained, twilight condition of death-in-life. The prisoner's life is violently interrupted, enclosed within a parenthesis. The point is to create the fiction that he doesn't exist. Prison is an experience of death by inches, minutes, hours, days.
    --John Edgar Wideman, Brothers and Keepers, 1984


  25. As an essayist I don't believe in the fiction of an anonymous observer. Rather than the sham of objectivity, I think you should put you perspective up front. That's only fair to the reader.
    --Ralph Wiley, 1993


  26. In a free society, the police must be accountable to the people.
    --Roy Wilkins, 1973


  27. I don't have nothing against other people and what they do, but I don't want no part of singing seccular music. I was offered $100,000 to make one blues record, and I turned it down. I sing for the Lord, and that's enough for me.
    --Marian Williams, 1993


  28. I'm not used to crying. It's a little difficult. All my life I've had to fight. It's just another fight I'm going to have to learn how to win, that's all. I'm just going to have to keep smiling.
    --Serena Williams


  29. If you can keep playing tennis when somebody is shooting a gun down the street, that's concentration.
    --Serena Williams


  30. I decided I can't pay a person to rewind time, so I may as well get over it.
    --Serena Williams


  31. Tennis just a game, family is forever.
    --Serena Williams


  32. Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours -- countless hours -- on the court, working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.
    --Serena Williams


  33. When you're on top, you're on top.
    --Venus Williams


  34. When you lose, you're more motivated. When you win, you fail to see your mistakes and probably no one can tell you anything.
    --Venus Williams


  35. Some people say that I have an attitude- Maybe I do. But I think that you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does- that makes you a winner right there.
    --Venus Williams


  36. It wasn't like I was self-motivated. My dad started me. It was his dream before it was mine.
    --Venus Williams


  37. If you're not a competitor, you've just got to go home.
    --Venus Williams


  38. Style ain't nothing but keeping the same idea from beginning to end.
    --August Wilson, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 1984


  39. I might be a different kind of fool, but I ain't gonna be the same fool twice.
    --August Wilson, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 1984


  40. Death ain't nothin' but a fastball on the outside corner.
    --August Wilson, Fences,, 1986


  41. That's all you need in the world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.
    --August Wilson, Joe Turner'ss Come and Gone, 1988


  42. It's a blessing when you learn to look at a woman and see in maybe just a few strands of her hair, the way her cheek curves -- to see in that everything there is out of life to be gotten. It's a blessing to see that.
    --August Wilson, Joe Turner'ss Come and Gone, 1988


  43. You got the preacher on the one hand and the gambler on the other. Sometimes there ain't too much difference in them.
    --August Wilson, The Piano Leesson, 1990


  44. When you get to be a saint there ain't nothing else you can do but die. The people wouldn't have it any other way.
    --August Wilson, Two Trains RRunning, 1992


  45. I found out life's hard but it ain't impossible.
    --August Wilson, Two Trains RRunning, 1992


  46. Miles Davis was a master. In every phase of his career, he understood that this music [jazz] was a tribute to the African muse.
    --Cassandra Wilson


  47. My grandmother sang, too, and she was really loud. It was this wild kind of singing. I count her among my influences.
    --Cassandra Wilson


  48. My father had all kinds of instruments in the house that he would hide from my mother. He bought them through mail order!
    --Cassandra Wilson


  49. There was a train that would come by our house every night, and I'd hear the whistle blow. That is the sweetest memory I have.
    --Cassandra Wilson


  50. There are notes between notes, you know.
    --Cassandra Wilson


  51. Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.
    --Oprah Winfrey, Commencement Adddress at Spellman College, 1993


  52. If you come to fame not understanding who you are, it [fame] will define who you are.
    --Oprah Winfrey, 1991


  53. I still have my feet on the ground. I just wear better shoes.
    --Oprah Winfrey, 1989


  54. Children cannot stand alone. None of us can. There's not one of us in this room, no matter how smart we are, no matter how diligent or persistent you have been -- there is not one of us who made this journey toward success by ourselves.
    --Oprah Winfrey, Speech before thhe California Bar Association, 1991


  55. I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that's how I operate my life.
    --Oprah Winfrey, 1989


  56. You can have it all. You just can't have it all at one time.
    --Oprah Winfrey, 1990

  57. God created black people and black people created style.
    --George C. Wolfe, The Colored Museum


  58. We traded in our drums for respectability. So now its just words.
    --George C. Wolfe, The Colored Museum


  59. Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.
    --Stevie Wonder


  60. Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision.
    --Stevie Wonder


  61. Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.
    --Stevie Wonder


  62. Minds ripen at very different ages.
    --Stevie Wonder


  63. Don't force your kids into sports. I never was. To this day, my dad has never asked me to go play golf. I ask him. It's the child's desire to play that matters, not the parent's desire to have the child play. Fun. Keep it fun.
    --Tiger Woods


  64. Family always comes first. It always has been in my life, and always will. I may sleep a little bit less, and we have to work on that as a team.
    --Tiger Woods


  65. Golf is definitely cool now. It wasn't when I was a kid, but I kept doing it, because I loved it.
    --Tiger Woods


  66. Green and black go well together, don't they?
    --Tiger Woods


  67. I get to play golf for a living. What more can you ask for - getting paid for doing what you love.
    --Tiger Woods


  68. I'm aware if I'm playing at my best I'm tough to beat. And I enjoy that.
    --Tiger Woods


  69. If you are given a chance to be a role model, I think you should always take it because you can influence a person's life in a positive light, and that's what I want to do. That's what it's all about.
    --Tiger Woods


  70. It is pretty cool to have my own video game. As a kid, growing up, it was something I never even thought of.
    --Tiger Woods


  71. My dad has always taught me these words: care and share. That's why we put on clinics. The only thing I can do is try to give back. If it works, it works.
    --Tiger Woods


  72. One of the things that my parents have taught me is never listen to other people's expectations.
    --Tiger Woods


  73. In the first place, we need to attain economic independence. You may talk about rights and all that sort of thing. The people who own this country will rule this country. They always have done so and they always will.
    --Carter Woodson, 1922


  74. For me, education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.
    --Carter Woodson, The Crisis, August 1931


  75. Nonvoting is a fruitless temper tantrum.
    --Bruce Wright, 1987


  76. Injustice which lasts for three long centuries and which exists among millions of people over thousands of square miles of territory, is injustice no longer; it is an accomplished fact of life.
    --Richard Wright, Native Son, 1940


  77. Life for us is a daily warfare and we are hard like soldiers. We are always in battle but the tidings of victory are few.
    --Richard Wright, Twelve Million Black Voices, 1941




- X -
  1. Revolution is like a forest fire. It burns everything in its path.
    --Malcolm X, Interview with A.B. Spellman, 1964


  2. We have never been involved in any kind of violence whatsoever. We have never initiated any violence against anyone, but we do believe that when violence is practiced against us we shoud be able to defend ourselves. We don't believe in turning the other cheek.
    --Malcolm X, Interview with A.B. Spellman, 1964


  3. Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world.
    --Malcolm X, Speech, Militant Labor Forum, 1964


  4. Early in life I learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.
    --Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965


  5. All negroes are angry, and I am the angriest of them all.
    --Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965


  6. We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, my brothers and sisters -- Plymouth Rock landed on us!
    --Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965


  7. I firmly believe that Negroes have the right to fight against these racists by any means that are necessary.
    --Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965


  8. It is my belief that I, too, will die by violence. I have done all that I can to be prepared.
    --Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965


  9. The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.
    --Malcolm X, 1963


  10. You don't have a peaceful revolution. You don't have a turn-the-other-cheek revolution. There's no such thing as a nonviolent revolution. Revolution is bloody. Revolution is hostile. Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way.
    --Malcolm X, 1963


  11. History is a people's memory, and without a memory, man is demoted to the lower animals.
    --Malcolm X, 1964


  12. I believe in the brotherhood of all men, but I don't believe in wasting brotherhood on anyone who doesn't want to practice it with me. Brotherhood is a two-way street.
    --Malcolm X, Speech at Harvard University, 1964




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