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Quotations #27:
African American Expression

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Selected Biographical Notes

- M -
  1. There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
    --Nelson Mandela, 1953


  2. If the 1st Amendment means anything, it means that the state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.
    --Thurgood Marshall, 1969


  3. Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.
    --Thurgood Marshall, 1985


  4. A man can make what he wants of himself if he truly believes that he must be ready for hard work and many heartbreaks.
    --Thurgood Marshall


  5. Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds.
    --Thurgood Marshall


  6. In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
    --Thurgood Marshall


  7. Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.
    --Thurgood Marshall


  8. I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.
    --Thurgood Marshall


  9. Today's Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish.
    --Thurgood Marshall


  10. None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots.
    --Thurgood Marshall


  11. If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything.
    --Claude McKay


  12. Nations, like plants and human beings, grow. And if the development is thwarted they are dwarfed and overshadowed.
    --Claude McKay


  13. Idealism is like a castle in the air if it is not based on a solid foundation of social and political realism.
    --Claude McKay


  14. As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.
    --Toni Morrison


  15. At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.
    --Toni Morrison


  16. I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can't teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort.
    --Toni Morrison


  17. I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.
    --Toni Morrison


  18. I'm always annoyed about why black people have to bear the brunt of everybody else's contempt. If we are not totally understanding and smiling, suddenly we're demons.
    --Toni Morrison


  19. If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
    --Toni Morrison


  20. My children are delightful people, whom I would love even if they weren't my children.
    --Toni Morrison


  21. There is nothing of any consequence in education, in the economy, in city planning, in social policy that does not concern black people.
    --Toni Morrison


  22. We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.
    --Toni Morrison


  23. When there is pain, there are no words. All pain is the same.
    --Toni Morrison


  24. Women's rights is not only an abstraction, a cause; it is also a personal affair. It is not only about us; it is also about me and you. Just the two of us.
    --Toni Morrison


  25. You need a whole community to raise a child. I have raised two children, alone.
    --Toni Morrison


  26. There will always be some curve balls in your life. Teach your children to thrive in that adversity.
    --Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, 1994

    - N -
  27. Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A tme to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.
    --Gloria Naylor, from "The Women of Brewster Place," 1982


  28. It really ain't what you'd call change. It's all happened before and it'll happen again with a different set of facts.
    --Gloria Naylor, from "Mama Day," 1998


  29. Think about it: ain't nobody really talking to you . . . Uh, huh, listen. Really listen this time. The only voice is your own.
    --Gloria Naylor, from "Mama Day," 1998


  30. Not only is your story worth telling, but it can be told in words so painstakingly eloquent that it becomes a song.
    --Gloria Naylor, 1991


  31. America is the world's greatest jailer, and we all in jails. Black spirits contained like magnificent birds of wonder.
    --Larry Neal, 1968


  32. The artist and the political activist are one. They are both shapers of the future reality. Both understand and manipulate the colelctive myths of the race. Both are warriors, priests, lovers, and destroyers.
    --Larry Neal, 1971


  33. For the blues singer, the world is his text. Like any artist, he has the task of bringing order out fo chaos.
    --Larry Neal, 1972


  34. You can tell the tree by the fruit it bears. You see it through what the organization is delivering as far as a concrete program. If the tree's fruit sours or grows brackish, then the time has come to chop it down - bury it and walk over it abd plant new seeds.
    --Huey P. Newton


  35. My fear was not of death itself, but of death without meaning.
    --Huey P. Newton


  36. Any discrimination based solely on race or color is barbarous; we car not how hallowed it be by custom, expediency, or prejudice.
    --The Niagra Movement, 1905


  37. There is no reason to repeat bad history.
    --Eleanor Holmes Norton


  38. With children no longer the universally accepted reason for marriage, marriages are going to have to exist on their own merits.
    --Eleanor Holmes Norton


  39. I am not among those who engage in nostalgia, because I think it locks you into a moment in time without thinking about where you are now, and what needs to be done now.
    --Eleanor Holmes Norton


  40. Income disparity is the great issue of our time. It is even broader and more difficult than the civil rights issues of the 1960's. The '99 percent' is not just a slogan. The disparity in income has left the middle class with lowered, not rising, income, and the poor unable to reach the middle class.
    --Eleanor Holmes Norton



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