Monday, May 19, 2008

Lorraine Hansberry, Rest in Peace

Gorgeous photo by David Moses Attie (c) 1960.

Today would have been her 78th birthday. May she rest in peace.

Last year I read A Raisin in the Sun and loved it. It remains an extremely powerful play. Highly recommended.

Here are some quotes from Lorraine Hansberry:

• 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]

More quotes from Lorraine Hansberry ...

"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."

• "The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely." [This quote really struck me. I'm gonna think on this all day ..]

• "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?"

And I must include a quote from the poet, educator, and activist -- Nikky Finney. She wrote this dedication for her book of extraordinary poems The World is Round:
For the tender-hearted insurgent Lorraine Hansberry, who "finished my thoughts" long before I had them.
And let's end with this one:

Let your motto be resistance.

1 comment:

Ms. Manitoba said...

Of course, how any of our ancestors can rest it peace is beyond me. (If they somehow have any knowledge of what's going on down here on this weary planet.)