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Lorraine Hansberry Quotes

Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965)

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Lorraine Hansberry was the author of "Raisin in the Sun," and she was the first African American woman to have a play on Broadway. After this success, Lorraine Hansberry wrote several other works, but died of cancer at age 34 on January 12, 1965. The play "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black" is based on her life. (Also: Lorraine Hansberry biography on this site.)

Selected Lorraine Hansberry Quotations

• I was born black and female.

• Do I remain a revolutionary? Intellectually -- without a doubt. But am I prepared to give my body to the struggle or even my comforts? This is what I puzzle about.

• Obviously the most oppressed of any oppressed group will be its women.

• ... if by some miracle women should not ever utter a single protest against their condition there would still exist among men those who could not endure in peace until her liberation had been achieved...

• A woman who is willing to be herself and pursue her own potential runs not so much the risk of loneliness as the challenge of exposure to more interesting men -- and people in general.

• ... the oppressed are by their nature ... forever in ferment and agitation against their condition and what they understand to be their oppressors. If not by overt rebellion or revolution, then in the thousand and one ways they will devise with and without consciousness to alter their condition.

• Both of my parents were strong-minded, civic-minded, exceptionally race-minded people who made enormous sacrifices on behalf of the struggle for civil rights throughout their lifetimes.

• The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.

• I am ashamed of being alone. Or is it my loneliness that I am ashamed of? I have closed the shutters so that no one can see. Me. Alone.

• Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.

• I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and—I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations.

• Children see things very well sometimes -- and idealists even better.

• We only revert back to mystical ideas - which includes most contemporary orthodox religious views, in my opinion - because we simply are confronted with some things we don’t yet understand.

• Take away the violence and who will hear the men of peace?

• Seems like God don't see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams -- but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worthwhile.

• There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing. Have you cried for that boy today? I don't mean for yourself and for the family 'cause we lost the money. I mean for him; what he's been through and what it done to him. Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most; when they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain't through learning -- because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so. When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is. [from Raisin in the Sun]

• Some scholars have estimated that in the three centuries that the European slave trade flourished, the African continent has lost one hundred million of its people. No one, to my knowledge, has ever paid reparations to the descendants of black men; indeed, they have not yet really acknowledged the fact of the crime against humanity, which was the conquest of Africa. But then -- history has not yet been concluded -- has it?

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2009. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Lorraine Hansberry Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/hansberry.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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