William Grant Still (1895-1978)

  • I don’t think that it is good for the world of music to have everything come out of the same mold. God didn’t place only roses on earth, or only lilies or only violets. He put flowers of many sorts and many colors here, the beauty of each enhancing that of the others.
  • When I began my career as a serious composer in New York, the general feeling was that all of us on the scene at that time were making a contribution to something uniquely and definitely American.
  • For me there is no White music or Black music — there is only music by individual men that is important if it attempts to dignify all men, not just a particular race.
  • I seek in the “Afro-American Symphony” to portray not the higher type of colored American, but the sons of the soil.
  • It was my good fortune to be a part of the jazz world when I was young, and when jazz itself was new.
  • This was the gift of New England to the freed Negro: not alms, but a friend; not cash, but character.
  • It was my mother who insisted that I practice regularly.