“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.”
“The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
“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.”
“It is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence.”
“We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect. The judgment of the intellect is only part of the truth.”
“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.