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Roots

  • ... there is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.

  • We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.

  • To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.

  • Whoever is uprooted himself uproots others. Whoever is rooted himself doesn't uproot others.

  • Uprooting is by far the most dangerous of the ills of human society, for it perpetuates itself.

  • There's a belief that wherever your Ancestors took shape from the sticks and stones that formed them, that's home. Ancestors from the coast leave their mark, Ancestors from the mountains, from the desert, they all leave their mark on the genes. When you come home, the genes rejoice.

  • It is typical, in America, that a person's hometown is not the place where he is living now but is the place he left behind.

    • Margaret Mead,
    • in Margaret Mead and Rhoda Metraux, A Way of Seeing ()
  • Nothing ever comes to an end. Wherever one has sunk roots that emanate from one's best or truest self, one will always find a home.

  • The deeper our roots, the farther from home we can safely travel.

  • There's a magical tie to the land of our home, / ... / Ask of any the spot they like best on the earth, / And they'll answer with pride, ''Tis the land of my birth!'

    • Eliza Cook,
    • "The Land of My Birth," The Poetical Works of Eliza Cook ()
  • I have not seen my birthplace, / where my mother deposited the heavy load of her inside.

  • All of us are displaced. Few people live where their great-grandparents lived or speak the language their great-grandparents spoke.

  • Fortunate are the people whose roots are deep.

  • A certain amount of flexibility in the social structure is an advantage, but the mass migrations now habitual in our nation are disastrous to the family and to the formation of individual character. It is impossible to create a stable society if something like a third of our people are constantly moving about. We cannot grow fine human beings, any more than we can grow fine trees, if they are constantly torn up by the roots and transplanted.

  • A tree reaches below the surface to gather strength for stargazing.

  • Our ancestors are an ever widening circle of hope.

    • Toni Morrison,
    • in "Rootedness: The Ancestor as Foundation," in Mari Evans, ed., Black Women Writers ()
  • Ancestral habits of mind can be constricting; they also confer one's individuality.

  • My race is a line that stretches across ocean and time to link me to the shrine where my grandmother was raised.

    • Kesaya E. Noda,
    • "Growing Up Asian in America," in Asian Women United of California, eds., Making Waves: An Anthology of Writings By and About Asian American Women ()
  • To separate from my culture (as from my family) I had to feel competent enough on the outside and secure enough inside to live life on my own. Yet in leaving home I did not lose touch with my origins because lo mexicano is in my system. I am a turtle, wherever I go I carry 'home' on my back.

  • The craze for genealogy ... is connected with the epidemic for divorce ... If we can't figure out who our living relatives are, then maybe we'll have more luck with the dead ones.

  • She was trapped in a mesh of tradition woven thousands of miles away by ancestors who had had no knowledge that someday one generation of their progeny might be raised in another culture.

  • Food binds us to our roots as strongly as any song or poem. Many of us have learned more about our ancestors in the kitchen than we ever will from a book.

  • I grow old, old / without you, Mother, landscape / of my heart.

    • Olga Broumas,
    • "Little Red Riding Hood," Beginning With O ()
  • But for the exile, as for ailing / Or jailed folk, always have I bled. / Deep shadows are your lone path veiling / And ever sour is alien bread.

    • Anna Akhmatova,
    • "I Am Not One of Those Abdicators," Anno Domini ()