Excerpts. 19

Excerpts. 18

“She was learning to love moments. To love moments for themselves.”
— Gwendolyn Brooks

“Since I thought I’d be dead
by now everything
I do is fucking perfect”
–Morgan Parker

“This past, the Negro’s past, of rope, fire, torture, castration, infanticide, rape; death and humiliation; fear by day and night, fear as deep as the marrow of the bone; doubt that he was worthy of life, since everyone around him denied it; sorrow for his women, for his kinfolk, for his children, who needed his protection, and whom he could not protect; rage, hatred, and murder, hatred for white men so deep that it often turned against him and his own, and made all love, all trust, all joy impossible — this past, this endless struggle to achieve and reveal and confirm a human identity, human authority, yet contains, for all its horror, something very beautiful.

I do not mean to be sentimental about suffering — enough is certainly as good as a feast — but people who cannot suffer can never grow up, can never discover who they are. That man who is forced each day to snatch his manhood, his identity, out of the fire of human cruelty that rages to destroy it knows, if he survives his effort, and even if he does not survive it, something about himself and human life that no school on earth — and, indeed, no church — can teach.

He achieves his own authority, and that is unshakable. This is because, in order to save his life, he is forced to look beneath appearances, to take nothing for granted, to hear the meaning behind the words. If one is continually surviving the worst that life can bring, one eventually ceases to be controlled by a fear of what life can bring; whatever it brings must be borne. And at this level of experience one’s bitterness begins to be palatable, and hatred becomes too heavy a sack to carry. The apprehension of life here so briefly and inadequately sketched has been the experience of generations of Negroes, and it helps to explain how they have endured and how they have been able to produce children of kindergarten age who can walk through mobs to get to school. It demands great force and great cunning continually to assault the mighty and indifferent fortress of white supremacy, as Negroes in this country have done so long.

It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate. The Negro boys and girls who are facing mobs today come out of a long line of improbable aristocrats — the only genuine aristocrats this country has produced.

I say “this country” because their frame of reference was totally American. They were hewing out of the mountain of white supremacy the stone of their individuality. I have great respect for that unsung army of black men and women who trudged down back lanes and entered back doors, saying “Yes, sir” and “No, Ma’am” in order to acquire a new roof for the schoolhouse, new books, a new chemistry lab, more beds for the dormitories, more dormitories. They did not like saying “Yes, sir” and “No Ma’am,” but the country was in no hurry to educate Negroes, these black men and women knew that the job had to be done, and they put
their pride in their pockets in order to do it. It is very hard to believe that they were in any way inferior to the
white men and women who opened those back doors. It is very hard to believe that those men and women, raising their children, eating their greens, crying their curses, weeping their tears, singing their songs, making their love, as the sun rose, as the sun set, were in any way inferior to the white men and women who crept over to share these splendors after the sun went down.

(…)

The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed that collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that Americans have always dealt honorably with Mexicans and Indians and all other neighbors or inferiors, that American men are the world’s most direct and virile, that American women are pure. Negroes know far more about white Americans than that; it can almost be said, in fact, that they know about white Americans what parents — or, anyway, mothers — know about their children, and that they very often regard white Americans that way.

(…)

A bill is coming in that I fear America is not prepared to pay. “The problem of the twentieth century,” wrote W. E. B. Du Bois around sixty years ago, “is the problem of the color line.” A fearful and delicate problem, which compromises, when it does not corrupt, all the American efforts to build a better world — here, there, or anywhere. It is for this reason that everything white Americans think they believe in must now be reëxamined. What one would not like to see again is the consolidation of peoples on the basis of their color. But as long as we in the West place on color the value that we do, we make it impossible for the great unwashed to consolidate themselves according to any other principle. Color is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality. But this is a Distinction so extremely hard to make that the West has not been able to make it yet.

(…)

I know that what I am asking is impossible. But in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can demand — and one is, after all, emboldened by the spectacle of human history in general, and American Negro history in particular, for it testifies to nothing less than the perpetual achievement of the impossible.”
–James Baldwin “The Fire Next Time!”
(1st published by the Dial Press 1963)

“Look at the birds. Even flying
is born

out of nothing. The first sky
is inside you, open

at either end of day.
The work of wings
was always freedom, fastening
one heart to every falling thing.”
–Li Young Lee

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream in the dark recesses of the night awake in the day to find all was vanity. But the dreamers of day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, and make it possible.”
-T.E. Lawrence

“The truth is not always beauty, but the hunger for it is.”
—Nadine Gordimer

The most accurate statement about Tupac’s impact ever:

“…(best and most influential are separate to me). They don’t always align. I doubt Tupac ever made a better album than any of his contemporaries, but I’d take Tupac’s influence over everyone.”
– Joshua Adams, Writer/Scholar

Compiled by MDSHall, in collaboration with the Poet Tree of Discoursing Drums beating By Any Dreams Necessary.

Excerpts. 17

Excerpts. 16

Excerpts. 14

“We know what it’s like to be told there isn’t a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. … We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day, … We knew that we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see. We knew that we had something to give.”
–Chadwick Boseman

“The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
~Chadwick Boseman

“Back during slavery, when Black people like me talked to the slaves, they didn’t kill ’em, they sent some old house Negro along behind him to undo what he said. You have to read the history of slavery to understand this. There were two kinds of Negroes. There was that old house Negro and the field Negro”
– Malcolm X, The House Negro and The Field Negro

“What you cannot see during the day, you will not see at night.”
~ Motherland Proverb

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.”
― D.H. Lawrence

“The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.”
~ Czesław Miłosz

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.”
-Maya Angelou

“It is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence.”
—Seneca

“We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect. The judgment of the intellect is only part of the truth.”
-Carl Jung

“White America must see that no other ethnic group has been a slave on American soil. That is one thing that other immigrant groups haven’t had to face. The other thing is that the color became a stigma. American society made the negroes color a stigma.

America freed the slaves in 1863 through the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln but gave the slaves no land or nothing in reality (and that’s a matter of fact) …to get started on. At the same time, America was giving away millions of acres of land in the west and the Midwest. Which meant there was a willingness to give the white peasants from Europe an economic base.

And yet it refused to give its black peasants from Africa who came involuntarily, in chains, and had worked free for 244 years any kind of economic base. And so emancipation for the negro was really freedom to hunger. It was freedom to the winds and rains of heaven. It was freedom without food to eat or land to cultivate and therefore it was freedom and famine at the same time.

And when white Americans tell the negro to lift himself by his own bootstraps, they don’t look over the legacy of slavery and segregation. Now I believe we ought to do all we can and seek to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to the bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.

And many negroes, by the thousands and millions have been left bootless as a result of all of these years of oppression and as a result of a society that deliberately made his color a stigma and something worthless and degrading.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

Compiled by MDSHall, in collaboration with the Poet Tree of Discoursing Drums beating By Any Dreams Necessary.