Richard Wright Quotes

Enjoy the top 130 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Richard Wright.

Richard Wright Quotes

Bob had been caught by the white death, the threat of which hung over every male black in the South. I had heard whispered tales of black boys having sex relations with white prostitutes in the hotels in town, but I had never paid any close attention to them; now those tales came home to me in the form of the death of a man I knew. I did not search for a job that day; I returned home
— Richard Wright —

Violence is a personal necessity for the oppressed ... It is not a strategy consciously devised. It is the deep, instinctive expression of a human being denied individuality.

— Richard Wright

Pity can purge us of hostility and arouse feelings of identification with the characters, but it can also be a consoling reassurance which leads us to believe that we have understood, and that, in pitying, we have even done something to right a wrong.

— Richard Wright

But the color of a Negro's skin makes him easily recognizable, makes him suspect, converts him into a defenseless target

— Richard Wright

You asked me questions nobody ever asked me before. You knew that I was a murderer two times over, but you treated me like a man ...

— Richard Wright

Men are inventing ideas every day to justify for themselves and others their actions and needs.

— Richard Wright

And if Poe were alive, he would not have to invent horror; horror would invent him.

— Richard Wright

Rather, I plead with you to see a mode of life in our midst, a mode of life stunted and distorted, but possessing its own laws and claims, an existence of men growing out of the soil prepared by the collective but blind will of a hundred million people. I beg you to recognize human life draped in a form and guise alien to ours, but springing from a soil plowed and sown by our own hands. I ask you to recognize laws and processes flowing from such a condition, understand them, seek to change them. If we do none of these, then we should not pretend horror or surprise when thwarted life expresses itself in fear and hate and crime.

— Richard Wright

Absolute power is corrupting

— Richard Wright

A man will seek to express his relation to the stars; but when a man's consciousness has been riveted upon obtaining a loaf of bread, that loaf of bread is as important as the stars.

— Richard Wright

Was emotionally true because I had already grown to feel that there existed men against whom I was powerless, men who could violate my life at will. I resolved that I would emulate the black woman if I were ever faced with a white mob; I would conceal a weapon, pretend that I had been crushed by the wrong done to one of my loved ones; then, just when they thought I had accepted their cruelty as the law of my life, I would let go with my gun and kill as many of them as possible before they killed me. The story of the woman's deception gave form and meaning to confused defensive feelings that had long been sleeping in me. My imaginings, of course, had no objective

— Richard Wright

The cross the preacher had told him about was bloody, not flaming; meek, not militant. It had made him feel awe and wonder, not fear and panic. It had made him want to kneel and cry, but this cross made him want to curse and kill.

— Richard Wright

They felt that it was much easier and safer to rob their own people, for they knew that white policemen never really searched diligently for Negroes who committed crimes against other Negroes.

— Richard Wright

Cross felt that at the heart of all political movements the concept of the basic inequality of man was enthroned and practiced, and the skill of politicians consisted in how cleverly they hid this elementary truth and gained votes by pretending the contrary

— Richard Wright

I was seized by doubt. Should I have come here? But going back was impossible. I had fled a known terror, and perhaps I could cope with this unknown terror that lay ahead.

— Richard Wright

I would write:
"The soft melting hunk of butter trickled in gold down the stringy grooves of the split yam."
Or:
"The child's clumsy fingers fumbled in sleep, feeling vainly for the wish of its dream."
"The old man huddled in the dark doorway, his bony face lit by the burning yellow in the windows of distant skycrapers."
My purpose was to capture a physical state or movement that carried a strong subjective impression, an accomplishment which seemed supremely worth struggling for. If I could fasten the mind of the reader upon words so firmly that he would forget words and be conscious only of his response, I felt that I would be in sight of knowing how to write narrative.

— Richard Wright

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