Black and African-American Quotes

Every little black child grew up seeing that getting along with white people meant grinning and acting clowns. It helped white people to feel easy about what they had done, and were doing, to Negroes, and that's carried right on over to now.

Miles Davis

Miles Davis on race relations

Source: Playboy, 1962

I think that one is not burdened by America's terrible racial history, and I think when people say to me, 'You're different. You're not angry,' in some ways it also feels that I'm being made complicit for something that I don't want to be complicit in. Because in some ways they're saying, 'You're one of the good ones.' And I think to say that is to somehow ignore the reality of American history. So for example, people will say, 'Oh, you're so easy to get along with.' And they'll tell me some story of some African-American woman they knew who just wasn't like me. Which I find quite absurd.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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

First off, I’d like to thank God that lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South side of Chicago, dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope. Welded with compassion. And elevated by love for all human beings.

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