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PDF document with select African American art references download here

*** Indicates Links to Artists Works

I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. . . . Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
Zora Neale Hurston (1901?-1960)
"How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928)

We have come over a way that with tears has
been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the
blood of the slaughtered.
James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) Lift Every Voice and Sing, stanza 2 (1900)

As long as the colored man look to white folks to put the crown on what he say . . . as long as he looks to white folks for approval . . . then he ain't never gonna find out who he is and what he's about.
August Wilson, Jr. (1945- )
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, act 1 (1984)

Many interviewers when they come to talk to me, think they're being progressive by not mentioning in their stories any longer that I'm black. I tell them, 'Don't stop now. If I shot somebody you'd mention it.'
--Colin Powell, 1991

I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed.
--Ralph Ellison, 1952

When I discover who I am, I'll be free.
--Ralph Ellison, 1952

"If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country." -- Malcolm X

"One ever feels his twoness-an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder." -- W.E.B. Dubois

"Black people dominate sports in the United States. 20% of the population and 90% of the final four. We own this shit. Basketball, baseball, football, golf, tennis, and as soon as they make a heated hockey rink we'll take that shit too." -- Chris Rock

"I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, that they will be forced to deal with the pain."-- James Baldwin

"Art hurts. Art urges voyages—and it is easier to stay at home." - Gwendolyn Brooks

"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey." -- John Hope Franklin

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