We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line.
Very early in life, it seemed to me that there was a relationship between the problems of the Negro people in America and the Jewish people in Russia, and that the Jewish people’s problems were worse than ours.
I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class, and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everybody knows – except us – that all Negroes have rhythms, so they elected me class poet.
It’s such a Bore Being always Poor.
Jazz, to me, is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul – the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile.
I swear to the Lord, I still can’t see, why Democracy means, everybody but me.
My writing has been largely concerned with the depicting of Negro life in America.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I will not take ‘but’ for an answer.
My chief literary influences have been Paul Laurence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman. My favorite public figures include Jimmy Durante, Marlene Dietrich, Mary McLeod Bethune, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, and Henry Armstrong.