Songs of Wisdom: Quotations From Famous African Americans Of The Twentieth Century

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9780688164973: Songs of Wisdom: Quotations From Famous African Americans Of The Twentieth Century
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A spirit-strengthening treasure of quotations from African Americans of this century.

In the life-celebrating tradition of Black Pearls and Acts of Faith comes Songs of Wisdom. Divided into chapters, Childhood and Youth, Identity, Race Relations, Civil Rights, Education, Religion, The Military, Politics, Sports, Skills, The Arts, Entertainment, and Opinions and Philosophies, Songs of Wisdom gathers inspirational and intriguing quotes from great African Americans of the twentieth century.

With quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, Maya Angelou, Lauryn Hill, Rosa Parks, and Michael Jordan, Songs of Wisdom is an eloquent gem. The perfect gift, it captures the brave and exalted spirit, full of wit and wisdom, of African American leaders, artists, educators, athletes, and others.

In the life-celebrating tradition of Black Pearls and Acts of Faith comes Songs of Wisdom. Divided into chapters, Childhood and Youth, Identity, Race Relations, Civil Rights, Education, Religion, The Military, Politics, Sports, Skills, The Arts, Entertainment, and Opinions and Philosophies, Songs of Wisdom gathers inspirational and intriguing quotes from great African Americans of the twentieth century.

With quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, Maya Angelou, Lauryn Hill, Rosa Parks, and Michael Jordan, Songs of Wisdom is an eloquent gem. The perfect gift, it captures the brave and exalted spirit, full of wit and wisdom, of African American leaders, artists, educators, athletes, and others.In the life-celebrating tradition of Black Pearls and Acts of Faith comes Songs of Wisdom. Divided into chapters, Childhood and Youth, Identity, Race Relations, Civil Rights, Education, Religion, The Military, Politics, Sports, Skills, The Arts, Entertainment, and Opinions and Philosophies, Songs of Wisdom gathers inspirational and intriguing quotes from great African Americans of the twentieth century.

With quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, Maya Angelou, Lauryn Hill, Rosa Parks, and Michael Jordan, Songs of Wisdom is an eloquent gem. The perfect gift, it captures the brave and exalted spirit, full of wit and wisdom, of African American leaders, artists, educators, athletes, and others.

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About the Author:

Jay David is the author of Growing Up Black: From Slave Days to the Present--Twenty-Five African Americans Reveal the Trials and Triumphs of Their Childhoods and Growing Up Jewish: An Anthology. He lives in New York City.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Childhood and Youth

"The world should not pass judgment upon the Negro, and especially the Negro youth, too quickly or too harshly. The Negro boy has obstacles, discouragements, and temptations to battle with that are little known to those not situated as he is. When a white boy undertakes a task, it is taken for granted that he will succeed. On the other hand, people are usually surprised if the Negro boy does not fail." -- Booker T. Washington

"About in late 1934, I would guess, something began to happen. Some kind of psychological deterioration hit our family circle and began to eat away at our pride. Perhaps it was the constant tangible evidence that we were destitute. We had known other families who had gone on relief. We had known without anyone in our home ever expressing it that we had felt prouder not to be at the depot where the free food was passed out. And now, we were among them. At school, the "on relief" finger was pointed at us, too, and sometimes it was said aloud.... Sometimes, instead of going home from school, I walked the two miles up the road into Lansing [Michigan]. I began drifting from store to store, hanging around outside where things like apples were displayed in boxes and barrels and baskets, and I would watch my chance and steal me a treat. You know what a treat was to me? Anything!" -- Malcolm X

"It is really important that young people find something that they want to do and pursue it with passion.... I'm very passionate about filmmaking. It's what I love to do." -- Spike Lee

"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." -- James Baldwin

"Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives." -- Maya Angelou

"At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice." -- Maya Angelou

"Even though your kids will consistently do the exact opposite of what you're telling them to do, you have to keep loving them just as much." -- Bill Cosby

"I truly believe that if ever a state social agency destroyed a family, it destroyed ours. We wanted and tried to stay together. Our home didn't have to be destroyed. But the welfare, the courts, and the doctor gave us the one-two-three punch. And ours was not the only case of this kind.
I knew I wouldn't be back to see my mother again [in the State Mental Hospital at Kalamazoo, Michigan] because it could make me a very vicious and dangerous person--knowing how they had looked at us as numbers and as a case in their book, not as human beings. And knowing that my mother in there was a statistic that didn't have to be, that existed because of a society's failure, hypocrisy, greed, and lack of mercy and compassion." -- Malcolm X

"I never had a chance to play with dolls like other kids. I started working when I was six years old." -- Billie Holiday

"There is no obstacle in the path of young people who are poor or members of minority groups that hard work and preparation cannot cure." -- Barbara Jordan

"We are now in a period where society is going to have to grow up and face the kinds of flaws that people have, who may in fact be important people.... Young people are often cynical because every historical figure in America wasn't a perfect person. For example, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, so his writing of the Declaration of Independence doesn't mean anything. When I would talk to black kids who were so irritated by the various flaws they found in certain white historical figures, and they'd say, "We want to reject all that and find something that's pure and real," I would ask them had they ever heard of William Shockley, and the answer would invariably be no. And I said, "You know William Shockley is an arch, dyed-in-the-wool, redneck, racist, scumbag dog of the sort you're talking about. He also is one of the three guys who got the Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor." And I said, "I truly do wish you would reject him and his product--because then we wouldn't have to put up with them God damn boom boxes." -- Stanley Crouch

"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass." -- Maya Angelou

"We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends." -- Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

"Look at yourselves. Some of you teen-agers, students. How do you think I feel--and I belong to a generation ahead of you--how do you think I feel to have to tell you, "We, my generation, sat around like a knot on a wall while the whole world was fighting for its human rights, and you've got to be born into a society where you still have that same fight." What did we do, who preceded you? I'll tell you what we did. Nothing. And don't you make the same mistake we made." -- Malcolm X

"Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to "jump at de sun." We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground." -- Zora Neale Hurston

"I have faith in young people because I know the strongest emotions which prevail are those of love and caring and belief and tolerance." -- Barbara Jordan

"I make an active effort to remain a positive role model to kids. They need people to show them there's another way." -- M. C. Hammer

"My mother could smell whiskey on your breath if she was in the market and you were home in bed." -- Eubie Blake

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