''“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.” ''
''“Live as though life was created for you.” ''
''The white American man makes the white American woman maybe not superfluous but just a little kind of decoration. Not really important to turning around the wheels of the state. Well the black American woman has never been able to feel that way. No black American man at any time in our history in the United States has been able to feel that he didn't need that black woman right against him, shoulder to shoulder—in that cotton field, on the auction block, in the ghetto, wherever.''
''“Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood.” ''
''“Ive learned that even when I have pains, I dont have to be one.”''
''Strictly speaking, one cannot legislate love, but what one can do is legislate fairness and justice. If legislation does not prohibit our living side by side, sooner or later your child will fall on the pavement and I'll be the one to pick her up. Or one of my children will not be able to get into the house and you'll have to say, "Stop here until your mom comes here." Legislation affords us the chance to see if we might love each other.''
''“When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity, happiness... all the good things.” ''
''There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.''
''“Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people cant take their eyes off you.” ''
''“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also Gods creation.” ''
''If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning "Good morning" at total strangers.''
''“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” ''
''In Stamps the segregation was so complete that most Black children didn't really, absolutely know what whites looked like.''
''“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” ''
''“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.” ''
''“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” ''
''“I am convinced that most people do not grow up...We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.” ''
''“Ive learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.” ''
''“I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.” ''
''“The human heart...tells us that we are more alike than we are unalike.” ''
''“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you cant practice any other virtue consistently.” ''
''You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise.''
''“The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they dont know my story...” ''
''“While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.” ''
''For Africa to me ... is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.''
''“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ''
''“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” ''
''“What youre supposed to do when you dont like a thing is change it. If you cant change it, change the way you think about it. Dont complain.” ''
''“The sisters and brothers that you meet give you the materials which your character uses to build itself. It is said that some people are born great, others achieve it, some have it thrust upon them. In truth, the ways in which your character is built have to do with all three of those. Those around you, those you choose, and those who choose you.” ''
''...there is a difference between being convinced and being stubborn. I'm not certain what the difference is, but I do know that if you butt your head against a stone wall long enough, at some point you realize the wall is stone and that your head is flesh and blood.''
''“I dont trust anyone who doesnt laugh.” ''
''“The main thing in ones own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.” ''
''“Ive learned that I still have a lot to learn.” ''
''We had won. Pimps got out of their polished cars and walked the streets of San Francisco only a little uneasy at the unusual exercise. Gamblers, ignoring their sensitive fingers, shook hands with shoeshine boys.... Beauticians spoke to the shipyard workers, who in turn spoke to the easy ladies.... I thought if war did not include killing, I'd like to see one every year. Something like a festival.''
''"Nothing will work unless you do"''
''“Ive learned that you shouldnt go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.” ''
''“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” ''
''“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” ''
''While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man's humanity to man.''
''“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” ''
''“Success is loving life and daring to live it.” ''
''“To those who are given much, much is expected.” ''
''“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” ''
''Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can't touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them, They say they still can't see. I say, It's in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.''
''“No one can take the place of a friend, no one.” ''
''“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” ''
''“A womans heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” ''
''“Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.” ''
''There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in black women. It's as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet.''
''Then the question began to live under my blankets: How did lesbianism begin? What were the symptoms? The public library gave information on the finished lesbian—and that woefully sketchy—but on the growth of a lesbian, there was nothing. I did discover that the difference between hermaphrodites and lesbians was that hermaphrodites were "born that way." It was impossible to determine whether lesbians budded gradually, or burst into being with a suddenness that dismayed them as much as it repelled society.''
''“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.” ''
''The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors, and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance.''
''Stories of law violations are weighed on a different set of scales in the Black mind than in the white. Petty crimes embarrass the community and many people wistfully wonder why Negroes don't rob more banks, embezzle more funds and employ graft in the unions.... This ... appeals particularly to one who is unable to compete legally with his fellow citizens.''
''“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” ''
''“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” ''
''“Love life. Engage in it. Give it all youve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.”''
''This might be the end of the world. If Joe lost we were back in slavery and beyond help. It would all be true, the accusations that we were lower types of human beings. Only a little higher than apes. True that we were stupid and ugly and lazy and dirty and, unlucky and worst of all, that God Himself hated us and ordained us to be hewers of wood and drawers of water, forever and ever, world without end.''
''I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.''
''“Be a rainbow in somebody elses cloud.” ''
''“Theres a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.” ''
''“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.” ''
''Oh, the holiness of always being the injured party. The historically oppressed can find not only sanctity but safety in the state of victimization. When access to a better life has been denied often enough, and successfully enough, one can use the rejection as an excuse to cease all efforts. After all, one reckons, "they" don't want me, "they" accept their own mediocrity and refuse my best, "they" don't deserve me.''
''“I want to thank you, Lord, for life and all thats in it. Thank you for the day and for the hour, and the minute. ” ''
''“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.” ''
''People in Stamps used to say that the whites in our town were so prejudiced that a Negro couldn't buy vanilla ice cream. Except on July Fourth. Other days he had to be satisfied with chocolate.''
''“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” ''
''... the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at a commensurate speed.''
''“Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift. ” ''
''“We need much less than we think we need.” ''
''“Try to be a rainbow in someones cloud.” ''
''“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.” ''
''“When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.” ''
''“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.” ''
''Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.''
''“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” ''
''“You cant use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ''
''“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ''
''Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, "I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway."''
''The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.''
''“There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.” ''
''“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ''
''“To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity.” ''
''“To those who have given up on love: I say, "Trust life a little bit.” ''
''I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at a commensurate speed.''
''“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” ''
''My life has been one great big joke, A dance that's walked A song that's spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke When I think about myself.''
''Something made greater by ourselves and in turn that makes us greater.''
''“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ” ''
''“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” ''
''“First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love.”''
''Of all the needs (there are none imaginary) a lonely child has, the one that must be satisfied, if there is going to be hope and a hope of wholeness, is the unshaking need for an unshakable God.''
''“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.” ''
''“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ''
''"Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it"''
''I believe we are still so innocent. The species are still so innocent that a person who is apt to be murdered believes that the murderer, just before he puts the final wrench on his throat, will have enough compassion to give him one sweet cup of water.''
''During those years in Stamps, I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare. He was my first white love.... it was Shakespeare who said, "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes." It was a state of mind with which I found myself most familiar. I pacified myself about his whiteness by saying that after all he had been dead so long it couldn't matter to anyone any more.''
''“I dont trust people who dont love themselves and tell me, I love you. ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”''
''As far as I knew white women were never lonely, except in books. White men adored them, Black men desired them and Black women worked for them.''
''“A woman who is convinced that she deserves to accept only the best challenges herself to give the best. Then she is living phenomenally.” ''
''“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ''
''We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.''
''“Ive learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, youll miss them when theyre gone from your life.” ''
''“A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself ” ''
''“Ive learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.” ''
''Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.''
''“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” ''
''“Ive learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ''
''At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.''
''All of childhood's unanswered questions must finally be passed back to the town and answered there. Heroes and bogey men, values and dislikes, are first encountered and labeled in that early environment. In later years they change faces, places and maybe races, tactics, intensities and goals, but beneath those penetrable masks they wear forever the stocking-capped faces of childhood.''
''“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” ''
''“You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still like dust, Ill rise.”''
''“All great achievements require time.” ''
''“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” ''
''“Some people cannot see a good thing when it is right here, right now. Others can sense a good thing coming when it is days, months, or miles away.” ''
''“Anything that works against you can also work for you once you understand the Principle of Reverse.” ''
''The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.''
''“Most people dont grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.” ''
''A bizarre sensation pervades a relationship of pretense. No truth seems true. A simple morning's greeting and response appear loaded with innuendo and fraught with implications.... Each nicety becomes more sterile and each withdrawal more permanent.''
''“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under ones skin, at the extreme corners of ones eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.” ''
''“In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.” ''
''“A friend may be waiting behind a strangers face.” ''
''“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”''
''“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, Ill rise!” ''
''My race groaned. It was our people falling. It was another lynching, yet another Black man hanging on a tree. One more woman ambushed and raped. A Black boy whipped and maimed. It was hounds on the trail of a man running through slimy swamps.''
''Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.''
''The needs of a society determine its ethics, and in the Black American ghettos the hero is that man who is offered only the crumbs from his country's table but by ingenuity and courage is able to take for himself a Lucullan feast. Hence the janitor who lives in one room but sports a robin's-egg-blue Cadillac is not laughed at but admired, and the domestic who buys forty-dollar shoes is not criticized but is appreciated. We know that they have put to use their full mental and physical powers. Each single gain feeds into the gains of the body collective.''
''“Poetry puts starch in your backbone so you can stand, so you can compose your life.” ''
''...talent is like electricity. We don't understand electricity. We use it.''
''I thought if war did not include killing, I'd like to see one every year.''
''“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ''
''“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.” ''
''“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” ''
''“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” ''
''Life loves the liver of it.''
''“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” ''
''The sadness of the women's movement is that they don't allow the necessity of love. See, I don't personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.''
''“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ''
''“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ''