Lillian Smith (author)

American author, social critic (1897-1966)
(Redirected from Lillian Smith)

Lillian Eugenia Smith (December 12, 1897September 28, 1966) was an American author and social activist.


  • She stood at the gate, waiting; behind her the swamp, in front of her Colored Town, beyond it, all Maxwell. Tall and slim and white in the dusk, the girl stood there, hands on the picket gate.
    • Strange Fruit (1944) First lines
  • Segregation is evil; there is no pattern of life which can dehumanize men as can the way of segregation.
    • Acceptance speech for the Charles S. Johnson Award at Fisk University in 1966
  • We in America – and men across the earth – have trapped ourselves with that word equality, which is inapplicable to the genus man. I wish we would forget it. Stop its use in our country: Let the communists have it. It isn’t fit for men who fling thei...r dreams across the skies. It is fit only for a leveling down of mankind.
    • "Killers of the Dream" Lillian Smith
  • The human heart dares not stay away too long from that which hurt it most. There is a return journey to anguish that few of us are released from making.

Quotes about Lillian Smith

  • Lillian Smith is a very great, and heroic, and very lonely figure. Obviously. She has very few friends in that little hamlet in Georgia where she carries on so gallantly. She has paid a tremendous price for trying to do what she thinks is right. And the price is terribly, terribly high. The only way the price can become a little bit less is for more people to do it.
    • 1961 interview in Conversations with James Baldwin edited by Louis H. Pratt and Fred L. Standley (1989)

Wikipedia has an article about: