Black and African-American Quotes

Black people in this country were obliged for centuries to laugh when they weren’t tickled and scratch when they didn’t itch.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou on What Black People Had to Do to Please Whites

Source: Smith College, 1980

I was in Tucson, at a writer's conference, and I challenged my host to pull out his dictionary and look up the words "white" and "black." And he looked up the word white, and he came up with things like white, unmarked by malignant influence, of desirable condition, a sterling man, a bright, fair and honest. Then you look up the word black, and you get a villain, marked by malignant influence, unqualified, violator of laws, etc. And these are actual definitions in a Webster's dictionary. So this is a part of the linguistic environment, so that when white America looks at a black, they see the opposite of everything that they are.

August Wilson