These Richard Wright quotes will help bring out the best in you.
Richard Wright was pioneering American author who is best known for the 1940 bestseller Native Son and his 1945 autobiography, Black Boy. Much of his work addressed racial themes and helped change race relations in the United States in the mid-20th century.
Born on September 4, 1908, in Roxie, Mississippi, Wright developed his love for writing from an early age and published his first short story at the age of 16.
Native Son was a successful and groundbreaking best seller that brought Wright fame and freedom to write. It also made him the wealthiest African American writer in the country.
Despite having tumultuous upbringing, Wright rose to become one of the most influential African-American writers of the twentieth century. He paved the way for the black writers who followed him and had an influence on the Civil Rights movement and anti-colonialism.
Wright died in Paris, France, on November 28, 1960. Years after his passing, his legacy still remains strong.
In his honor, below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and thought-provoking Richard Wright quotes, collected from a variety of sources over the years.
Richard Wright Quotes on Humanity and Racism
1. “If you possess enough courage to speak out what you are, you will find you are not alone.” ― Richard Wright
2. “The world of most men is given to them by their culture..” ― Richard Wright
3. “My days and nights were one long, quiet, continuously contained dream of terror, tension, and anxiety. I wondered how long I could bear it.” ― Richard Wright
4. “We cannot shake off three hundred years of fear in three hours.” ―Richard Wright
5. “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
6. “I had tasted what to me was life, and I would have more of it, somehow, someway.” ― Richard Wright
7. “Whenever my environment had failed to support or nourish me, I had clutched at books…” ― Richard Wright
8. “The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.” ― Richard Wright
9. “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
10. “If laying down my life could stop the suffering in the world I’d do it. But I don’t believe anything can stop it.” ― Richard Wright
Richard Wright quotes that will change the way you think
11. “Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.” ― Richard Wright
12. “I was persisting in reading my present environment in the light of my old one.” ― Richard Wright
13. “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
14. “Love grows from stable relationships, shared experience, loyalty, devotion, trust.” ― Richard Wright
15. “How soon will someone speak the word the resentful millions will understand: the word to be, to act, to live?” ― Richard Wright
16. “I didn’t know I was really alive in this world until I felt things hard enough to kill for ’em…” ― Richard Wright
17. “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
18. “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
19. “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
20. “Men are inventing ideas every day to justify for themselves and others their actions and needs.” ― Richard Wright
Richard Wright quotes to elevate your perspective
21. “The white folks like for us to be religious, then they can do what they want to with us.” ― Richard Wright
22. “But the color of a Negro’s skin makes him easily recognizable, makes him suspect, converts him into a defenseless target” ― Richard Wright
23. “Every man, it seems, interprets the world in the light of his habits and desires” ― Richard Wright
24. “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
25. “One can account for just so much of life, and then no more. At least, not yet.” ― Richard Wright
26. “How constantly and overwhelmingly the advertisements, radios, newspapers and movies play upon us! But in thinking of them remember that to many they are tokens of mockery.” ― Richard Wright
27. “A writer who hasn’t written anything worth-while is a most doubtful person.” ― Richard Wright
28. “Life had made the plot over and over again, to the extent that I knew it by heart.” ― Richard Wright
29. “I had never in my life been abused by whites, but I had already become as conditioned to their existence as though I had been the victim of a thousand lynchings.” ― Richard Wright
30. “So far removed are these practices from what the average American citizen encounters in his daily life that it takes a huge act of his imagination to believe that it is true;” ― Richard Wright
Other inspirational Richard Wright quotes
31. “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.” – Richard Wright
32. “Reading was like a drug, a dope. The novels created moods in which I lived for days.” – Richard Wright
33. “I did not know if the story was factually true or not, but it was emotionally true.” – Richard Wright
34. “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
35. “I was not leaving the south to forget the south, but so that some day I might understand it.” – Richard Wright
36. “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
37. “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
38. “Held at bay by the hate of others, preoccupied with his own feelings, he was continuously at war with reality.” – Richard Wright
39. “Make up your mind, Snail! You are half inside your house, And halfway out!” – Richard Wright
40. “They hate because they fear, and they fear because they feel that the deepest feelings of their lives are being assaulted and outraged. And they do not know why; they are powerless pawns in a blind play of social forces.” – Richard Wright
Which of these Richard Wright quotes was your favorite?
Richard Wright was arguably the most influential African-American writer of the twentieth century. His work was an important part of the discussion on race relations and had an impact across the globe.
Despite not being with us now, Wright’s life and writings remain exemplary. We hope his words have inspired you to live a positive mark in whatever field you’re involved in.
Did you enjoy these Richard Wright quotes? Which of the quotes was your favorite? Tell us in the comment section below. We would love to hear all about it.
February 24, 2021 6:00 AM EST