2021 Power Issue Cover.jpeg
  • Monique Howard

National Day on Writing: seven quotes to remember

National Day on Writing was created by the National Council of Teachers of English to express the impact that writing has on literacy and build further awareness about this powerful form of self-expression. The written word’s influence reaches beyond the classroom and everyday uses as it can become a tool that allows one to share their views with the world. Over the past 11 years, the council has witnessed thousands of participants sharing their thoughts and becoming immersed in activities relating to the theme of #WhyIWrite.

In 2020 there’s never been a more pivotal moment to let your voice be known. People can connect and unite through the power of words. Writing is truly one of the greatest creative abilities that a person can possess. What better way to honor the day than by highlighting quotes from influential Black authors who have chosen to use their literary talents to speak out against racial injustice. Here are a few memorable quotes.

“I am an invisible man...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.” -Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man)

“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” -James Baldwin (No Name in the Street)

“For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.” -James Baldwin (Sonny’s Blues)

“Men simply copied the realities of their hearts when they built prison. They simply extended into objective reality what was already a subjective reality. Only jailers really believe in jails.” -Richard Wright (The Outsider)

“We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings...In fact, we are actually fighting for rights that are even greater than civil rights and that is human rights.” -Malcolm X (Black Revolution)

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” -Frederick Douglass (Speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of emancipation in Washington. D.C.)

“It is the duty of the younger Negro artist...to change through the force of his art that old whispering ‘I want to be white,’ hidden in the aspirations of his people, to ‘Why should I be white? I am a Negro—and beautiful!’” -Langston Hughes (The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, The Nation)

Photo Credit: Biography.com/Michael Ochs-Getty Images/Library of Congress-Getty Images/Hulton Archive-Getty Images

Source: National Council of Teachers of English/HuffPost