extreme distress of body or mind
You ache with the need to convince yourself that you do exist in the real world, that you're a part of all the sound and
anguish, and you strike out with your fists, you curse and you swear to make them recognize you.
the power of creative imagination
Yet when you have lived invisible as long as I have you develop a certain
impossible or difficult to sense
Instead of the swift and
imperceptible flowing of time, you are aware of its nodes, those points where time stands still or from which it leaps ahead.
the absence of mental stress or anxiety
It was exhausting—as though I had held my breath continuously for an hour under the terrifying
serenity that comes from days of intense hunger.
act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
And if he had yelled for a policeman, wouldn't I have been taken for the
be relevant to
About eighty-five years ago they were told that they were free, united with others of our country in everything
pertaining to the common good, and, in everything social, separate like the fingers of the hand.
a disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride
On my graduation day I delivered an oration in which I showed that
humility was the secret, indeed, the very essence of progress.
take away a part from; diminish
And besides, I suspected that fighting a battle royal might
detract from the dignity of my speech.
We were a small tight group, clustered together, our bare upper bodies touching and shining with
anticipatory sweat; while up front the big shots were becoming increasingly excited over something we still could not see.
showing lack of emotional involvement
As the dancer flung herself about with a
detached expression on her face, the men began reaching out to touch her.
lying face downward
prone, pretending that I was knocked out, but felt myself seized by hands and yanked to my feet.
a noisy riotous fight
I played one group against the other, slipping in and throwing a punch then stepping out of range while pushing the others into the
melee to take the blows blindly aimed at me.
lacking spirit or liveliness
It was a dream fall, my body
languid and fastidious as to where to land, until the floor became impatient and smashed up to meet me.
a state in which all hope is lost or absent
I was going out into the dim alley in
despair when I was stopped and told to go back.
foster the growth of
And like him I say, and in his words, 'To those of my race who depend upon bettering their condition in a foreign land, or who underestimate the importance of
cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is his next-door neighbor, I would say: "Cast down your bucket where you are"—cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.'
the state of being emotionally aroused and worked up
I spoke automatically and with such
fervor that I did not realize that the men were still talking and laughing until my dry mouth, filling up with blood from the cut, almost strangled me.
having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety
The room filled with the uproar of laughter until, no doubt,
distracted by having to gulp down my blood, I made a mistake and yelled a phrase I had often seen denounced in newspaper editorials, heard debated in private.
lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
That had all passed now with his disgrace, and what on the part of the school officials had been an attitude of
contempt blunted by tolerance, had now become a
contempt sharpened by hate.
inclined or willing to give in to orders or wishes of others
Some were hostile, some cringing, some horrified; some, who when among themselves were most violent, now appeared as
submissive as children.
desire strongly or persistently
An utterly stupid proposition, and these hands so lovingly trained to master a scalpel
yearn to caress a trigger.
conceal or hide
Already he's learned to
repress not only his emotions but his humanity.
having no definite form or distinct shape
To you he is a mark on the score-card of your achievement, a thing and not a man; a child, or even less—a black
a person who takes a practical approach to problems
He believes in that great false wisdom taught slaves and
pragmatists alike, that white is right.
having or exhibiting a single clearly defined meaning
And in the chapel on Sunday evenings upon the platform, hadn't he always taught us to live content in our place in a thousand
an attitude of admiration
I had hoped that by serving him the rest of the week I could win back his
exemption from punishment or loss
I too had touched a white man today and I felt that it had been disastrous, and I realized then that he was the only one of us whom I knew—except perhaps a barber or a nursemaid—who could touch a white man with
act between parties with a view to reconciling differences
I wondered to which of them I might go to
intercede for me with Dr. Bledsoe, but within myself I knew that there was no one.
an act or expression of criticism and censure
I sat thinking of the dread possibility of having to leave all this, of being expelled; imagining the return home and the
rebukes of my parents.
having or showing arrogant superiority to
Then around me everyone was singing Lead me, lead me to a rock that is higher than I. And as though the sound contained some force more
imperious than the image of the scene of which it was the living connective tissue, I was pulled back to its immediacy.
refuse to stop
And you know how he escaped and made his way across mountain and valley to that place of learning and how he
persisted and worked noontimes, nights and mornings for the privilege of studying, or, as the old folk would say, of 'rubbing his head against the college wall.'
distant but within sight
Ah, yes, those indescribably glorious days, in which the Founder was building the dream not only here in this then barren valley, but hither and
yonder throughout the land, instilling the dream in the hearts of the people.
a gradual increase in loudness, in music
I closed my eyes as I heard the deep moaning sound that issued from him, and the rising
crescendo of the student body joining in.
put into words or an expression
I kept trying to
formulate what I would say to Dr. Bledsoe, and the boys must have turned into their building, for suddenly finding myself outside the gates of the campus and heading down the highway, I turned and ran back to the building.
not capable of being computed or enumerated
Your poor judgment has caused this school
characterized by fantastic and incongruous imagery
Trueblood, Mr. Norton, Dr. Bledsoe and the Golden Day swept around my mind in a mad