American Modernist Poet, Educator, Columnist and Politician
When the exceptional historian comes along, you have a poet.
It's better to have a society where all of us have something than to have one in which a few of us have all.
We are mere journeymen, planting seeds for someone else to harvest.
My little walnut-hued mother . . . was a descendant from antebellum fugitives
who hid themselves on the islands in the Mark Twain country and in
the glooms of the Ozarks, from which they raided at midnight the slave
plantations along the Missouri and the Mississippi. Out of the melting-pot
of this clan came gun-toting preachers and hallelujahing badmen
whose legends grew whiskers in the dead yellow hills.
Anybody know who Willie Lynch was? Anybody? Raise your hand. No one? He was a vicious slave owner in the West Indies. The slave-masters in the colony of Virginia were having trouble controlling their slaves, so they sent for Mr. Lynch to teach them his methods. The word lynching came from his last name. His methods were very simple, but they were diabolical. Keep the slave physically strong but psychologically weak and dependent on the slave master. Keep the body, take the mind.
Out of abysses of illiteracy, through labyrinths of lies, across wastelands of disease... advance. Out of dead-ends of poverty,through wilderness of superstition, across barricades of Jim Crowism... advance.
It required the Great Depression to open the eyes of the American people to the economic, cultural, social, political, and spiritual values inherent in a great democracy. For this I am thankful. As a distinctly finite being, man learns only through tragic experiences. Progress and Pain are Siamese twins.
The white man’s civilization with its inhuman economic competition and rugged individualism has produced millions of physical and mental wrecks. It has produced enough vices to fill Dante’s hell. Nine-tenths of the people who reach forty are suffering from shattered nerves.
Since we live in a changing universe, why do men oppose change?... If a rock is in the way, the root of a tree will change its direction. The dumbest animals try to adapt themselves to changed conditions. Even a rat will change its tactics to get a piece of cheese.