Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotations and sayings by Richard Wright on truth, relationships, love, self-realization, discrimination, hatred, society, hunger, poverty, reading, death, life, epiphany, pity, religion and race.

50 Notable Quotes By Richard Wright, The Distinguished American Author And Essayist

Quick Facts

Famous As: Author

Born On: September 4, 1908

Died On: November 28, 1960

Born In: Roxie

Died At Age: 52

Richard Wright was a popular American author and the first ‘Negro’ writer to become popular in the racist times in America. The word ‘Negro’ might sound intimidating, but Wright was one who liked his roots, and opposed every instance where he was discriminated on color. Majority of his work explained the conditions and livelihood of ‘African-Americans’ during and before the ‘Great Depression’ in America. Although his non-fiction novels and short stories did lead to controversies, it is true that his work called for change in the society radically. His writings and essays reflect his thoughts and beliefs on issues close to his heart. Many of his quotes and sayings aimed at bridging the race relations. Wright was moved by the ‘Communalist Party of America’ that urged “power to workers”, and found it fitting to his ideology. ‘Black Boy’ and ‘Native Son’ are the most sought-after among his books, owing to their depiction that closely related to the society back then. ‘Introduction to Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City’ and ‘I Choose Exile’, were among his acclaimed essays. Following is a collection of thoughts, sayings and quotations by Richard Wright on self-realization, society, hatred and love.
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Whenever my environment had failed to support or nourish me, I had clutched at books...

Richard Wright

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.

Richard Wright

Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.

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

Reading was like a drug, a dope. The novels created moods in which I lived for days.

Richard Wright

I did not know if the story was factually true or not, but it was emotionally true [...].

Richard Wright

Love grows from stable relationships, shared experience, loyalty, devotion, trust.

Richard Wright

All literature is protest.

Richard Wright

It was not a matter of believing or disbelieving what I read, but of feeling something new, of being affected by something that made the look of the world different.

Richard Wright

If a man confessed anything on his death bed, it was the truth; for no man could stare death in the face and lie.

Richard Wright

I was not leaving the south to forget the south, but so that some day I might understand it

Richard Wright

I knew that I lived in a country in which the aspirations of black people were limited, marked-off. Yet I felt that I had to go somewhere and do something to redeem my being alive.

Richard Wright

I didn't know I was really alive in this world until I felt things hard enough to kill for 'em...

Richard Wright

Make up your mind, Snail! You are half inside your house, And halfway out!

Richard Wright

The white folks like for us to be religious, then they can do what they want to with us.

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

Hunger has always been more or less at my elbow when I played, but now I began to wake up at night to find hunger standing at my bedside, staring at my gauntly.

Richard Wright

Goddamnit, look! We live here and they live there. We black and they white. They got things and we ain't. They do things and we can't. It's just like livin' in jail.

Richard Wright

There are times when life's ends are so raveled that reason and sense cry out that we stop and gather them together again before we can proceed

Richard Wright

Literature is a struggle over the nature of reality.

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

Held at bay by the hate of others, preoccupied with his own feelings, he was continuously at war with reality.

Richard Wright

My days and nights were one long, quiet, continuously contained dream of teror, tension, and anxiety. I wondered how long I could bear it.

Richard Wright

... a knowledge of how to live was a knowledge of how to die.

Richard Wright

How could one find out about life when one was about to die?

Richard Wright

Wherever I found religion in my life I found strife, the attempt of one individual or group to rule another in the name of God. The naked will to power seemed always to walk in the wake of a hymn.

Richard Wright

...it was no longer a matter of whether I would steal or lie or murder; it was a simple, urgent matter of public pride, a matter of how much I had in common with other people.

Richard Wright

The thing to do was to act just like others acted, live like they lived, and while they were not looking, do what you wanted.

Richard Wright

The world of most men is given to them by their culture..

Richard Wright

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

Richard Wright

You look like an accident going somewhere to happen

Richard Wright

So he held toward them an attitude of iron reserve; he lived with them, but behind a wall, a curtain. And toward himself he was even more exacting.

Richard Wright

Would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger of life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human

Richard Wright

You can't make me do nothing but die!

Richard Wright

....I wondered if there had been a more corroding and devastating attack upon the personalities of men than the idea of racial discrimination.

Richard Wright

...to see was not to control, that self-understanding was far short of self-mastery. He was afraid of himself.

Richard Wright

Every man, it seems, interprets the world in the light of his habits and desires

Richard Wright

Having been thrust out of the world because of my race, I had accepted my destiny by not being curious about what shaped it

Richard Wright

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

Richard Wright

They argued about the weather, sports, sex, war, race, politics, and religion; neither of them knew the subjects they debated, but it seemed that the less they knew the better the could argue.

Richard Wright

He sat. The white cat still contemplated him with large, moist eyes.

Richard Wright

If you posses enough courage to speak out what you are, you will find that you are not alone.

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

Absolute power is corrupting

Richard Wright

I wanted to try to build a bridge of words between me and that world outside, that world which was so distant and elusive that it seemed unreal.

Richard Wright

He had been defeated by that which he had sought to destroy.

Richard Wright

Then, first of all, let us admit that there is no such thing as objectivity, no such objective fact as objectivity. Objectivity is a fabricated concept, a synthetic intellectual construction...

Richard Wright

In the old days we were concerned with mobs, with thousands of men running amuck in the streets. The mob has conquered completely. When the mob has grown so vast that you cannot see it, then it is everywhere.

Richard Wright

Literature is a struggle over the nature of reality. --Richard Wright to William Faulkner

Richard Wright

Hate yearned to destroy and sought to forget, but love could not. Love strove creatively towards days that had yet to come.

Richard Wright