It is only in his music, which Americans are able to admire because a protective sentimentality limits their understanding of it, that the Negro in America has been able to tell his story.
Everybody's journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.
The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world's definitions.
The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all other ties, any other history, and himself adopts the vesture of his adopted land.
Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.
A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.
The question of sexual dominance can exist only in the nightmare of that soul which has armed itself, totally, against the possibility of the changing motion of conquest and surrender, which is love.
Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.
It is a great shock at the age of five or six to find that in a world of Gary Coopers you are the Indian.
It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.
To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.
The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.
I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.