"To live your life well, and have respect for what came before or after - there's a strong respect for that in African culture."
"An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law."Anna Deavere Smith on Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized."Anna Deavere Smith on Albert Einstein
"Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized."Anna Deavere Smith on Albert Einstein
"Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."Anna Deavere Smith on Malcolm X
"If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem."Anna Deavere Smith on Abraham Lincoln
"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."
"Learning is a tunnel experience that makes us think more broadly."
"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."