"Learning is a tunnel experience that makes us think more broadly."
"Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards."Anna Deavere Smith on Soren Kierkegaard
"The only source of knowledge is experience."Anna Deavere Smith on Albert Einstein
"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn."Anna Deavere Smith on C. S. Lewis
"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes."Anna Deavere Smith on Oscar Wilde
"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."Anna Deavere Smith on Mark Twain
"Racism has been for everyone like a horrible, tragic car crash, and we've all been heavily sedated from it. If we don't come into consciousness of this tragedy, there's going to be a violent awakening we don't want. The question is, can we wake up?"
"People who are sick, or who have been sick, or have come close to death have a lot to say - and they want you to hear it."
"Somehow we can't live outside the politics of race. There's something very deep in all of us, that is taught to us when we are very, very little. Which is the disrespect and fear of the other."
"I feel like my work has been my path to freedom from having grown up in a segregated environment."
"The American idea is as promising, imaginative, and full of the unexpected as the land itself. The land represents freedom - the frontier, the ability to make a new future with your own bare hands."