"Those piles of ruins which you see in that narrow valley watered by the Nile, are the remains of opulent cities, the pride of
the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia…. There a people, now forgotten, discovered while others were yet barbarians, the elements
of the arts and the sciences. A race of men now rejected from society for their sable skin and frizzled hair, founded on the
study of the laws of nature, those civil and religious systems which still govern the universe."
"I feel personally sorrowful about black-white relations a lot of the time because black people have always been used as a buffer in this country between powers to prevent class war, to prevent other kinds of real conflagrations.
If there were no black people here in this country, it would have been Balkanized. The immigrants would have torn each other’s throats out, as they have done everywhere else. But in becoming an American, from Europe, what one has in common with that other immigrant is contempt for me — it’s nothing else but color. Wherever they were from, they would stand together. They could all say, ”I am not that.” So in that sense, becoming an American is based on an attitude: an exclusion of me.
It wasn’t negative to them — it was unifying. When they got off the boat, the second word they learned was ”nigger.” Ask them — I grew up with them. I remember in the fifth grade a smart little boy who had just arrived and didn’t speak any English. He sat next to me. I read well, and I taught him to read just by doing it. I remember the moment he found out that I was black — a nigger. It took him six months; he was told. And that’s the moment when he belonged, that was his entrance. Every immigrant knew he would not come as the very bottom. He had to come above at least one group — and that was us."
"When “i” is replaced with “we” even illness becomes wellness."
"i just need to get my shit together"