How does Literature shape a person? Read quotes from erudite Blacks who truly have a way with words.

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
Maya Angelou

All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, The Lord had a Job

And he said: you pretty full of yourself ain't chu. So she replied: show me someone not full of Herself and I'll show you a hungry person.
Nikki Giovanni

And like any artist with no art form, she became dangerous.
Toni Morrison

Beloved, you are my sister, you are my daughter, you are my face; you are me.
Toni Morrison

Blues, spirituals, and folk tales recounted from mouth to mouth; the whispered words of a black mother to her black daughter on ways of men, to confidential wisdom of a black father to his son; the swapping of sex experiences on street corners from boy to boy in the deepest vernacular, work songs sung under blazing suns ?all these formed the channels through which racial wisdom flowed.
Richard Wright, Blueprint for Negro Writing

Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinng! An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room. A bed spring creaked. A woman's voice sang out impatiently: ?Bugger, shut that thing off!'.
Richard Wright, Native Son

Good evening, daddy! Ain't you heard The boogie-woogie rumble Of a dream deferred? Trilling the treble And twining the bass Into midnight ruffles Of cat-gut lace.
Langston Hughes, Boogie: 1am

His headstone said "Free at last, Free at last" - But death is a slave's freedom - We seek the freedom of free men - And the construction of a world - Where Martin Luther King could have lived - and preached non-violence.
Nikki Giovanni, The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am an invisible man. No. I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids?and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you sometimes see in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination?indeed, everything and anything except me.
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

I got the Weary Blues And I can't be satisfied.
Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues

I know why the caged bird sings; ah me, when his wing is bruised and his bosom sore; when he beats his bars and he would be free, it is not a carol of joy or glee, but a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sympathy

I read ?Up From Slavery? and then my dream -- if I may so call it -- of being a race leader dawned.
Marcus Garvey

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia? Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land?
W.E.B. Dubois

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human.
Richard Wright, American Hunger

I'm a rootless man, but I'm neither psychologically distraught nor in any wise particularly perturbed because of it. Personally, I do not hanker after, and seem not to need, as many emotional attachments, sustaining roots, or idealistic allegiances as most people. I declare unabashedly that I like and even cherish the state of abandonment, of aloneness; it does not bother me; indeed, to me it seems the natural, inevitable condition of man, and I welcome it. I can make myself at home almost anywhere on this earth and can, if I've a mind to and when I'm attracted to a landscape or a mood of life, easily sink myself into the most alien and widely differing environments.
Richard Wright, White Man, Listen!

In Tar Baby, the classic concept of the individual with a solid, coherent identity is eschewed for a model of identity which sees the individual as a kaleidoscope of heterogeneous impulses and desires, constructed from multiple forms of interaction with the world as a play of difference that cannot be completely comprehended.
Toni Morrison, Tony Morrison by Linden Peach

Like Guitar in Son of Solomon, and Son in Tar Baby, he [T.M.?s father] believed that harmony could never exist between the races.
Toni Morrison, Tony Morrison by Linden Peach

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, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Melting pot Harlem ? Harlem of honey and chocolate and caramel and rum and vinegar and lemon and lime and gall . . . where the subway from the Bronx keeps right on downtown.
Langston Hughes, Freedomways, Summer

No one could have convinced them that they were not relentlessly and aggressively ugly?You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction?And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it. Dealing with it each according to his own way.
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

She did not talk to people as if they were strange hard shells she had to crack open to get inside. She talked as if she were already in the shell. In their very shell.
Marita Bonner

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing, until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. They then act and do things accordingly.
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

The forties and fifties were years of high poet-incense; the language-flowers were thickly sweet. Those flowers whined and begged white folks to pick them, to find them lovable. Then the '60s: Independent fire!
Gwendolyn Brooks

Wake up AFRIKA! let us work towards the one glorious end of a free, redeemed and mighty nation. Let AFRIKA be a bright star among the constellation of nations.
Marcus Garvey

Wake up Ethiopia! Wake up Africa! Let us work towards the one glorious end of a free, redeemed and mighty nation. Let Africa be a bright star among the constellation of nations.
Marcus Garvey

With our short sight we affect to take a comprehensive view of eternity. Our horizon is the universe.
Paul Laurence Dunbar

You can, when Time is ripe, swope to your feet -- at your full height -- at a single gesture. Ready to go where? Why . . . Wherever God motions.
Marita Bonner