Engraved Quotations

Engraved quote, "When caught between two evils, I generally like to take the one I never tried."

Quotations selected to represent the broad spectrum of women's ideas, experiences, philosophies, insights, and across time and place, are engraved on stone benches and on paving bands that curve through the walkway.

Across the curve of the earth, there are women getting up before dawn, in the blackness before the point of light, in the twilight before sunrise; there are women rising earlier than men and children to break the ice, to start the stove, to put up the pap, the coffee, the rice, to iron the pants, to braid the hair, to pull the day’s water up from the well, to boil water for tea, to wash the children for school, to pull the vegetables and start the walk to market, to run to catch the bus for the work that is paid. I don’t know when most women sleep.

- Adrienne Rich, 1984

The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul.

- Emma Goldman, 1908

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.

- Rachel Carson, 1954

If I could have found what I needed at thirteen, I would not have lost so much of my life chasing vindication or death. Give some child, some thirteen-year-old, the hope of the remade life. Tell the truth. Write the story that you were always afraid to tell. I swear to you there is magic in it.

- Dorothy Allison, 1992

The gleam of an heroic Act
Such strange illumination
The Possible’s slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination.

- Emily Dickinson, circa 1870

The eye that directs a needle in the delicate meshes of embroidery will equally well bisect a star with the spider web of the micrometer.

- Maria Mitchell, circa 1865

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.

- Rebecca West, 1913

Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and respect for strength—in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.

- Alice Walker, 1974

Wear scarlet! Tear the green lemons
off the tree! I don’t want
to forget who I am, what has burned in me,
and hang limp and clean, an empty dress—

- Denise Levertov. 1958

Every gain women have made in the past two hundred years has been in the face of experts insisting they couldn’t do it and didn’t really want to.

- Katha Pollitt, 2005

As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.

- Eudora Welty, 1983

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.

- Patti Smith, 1994

It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world!

- Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792

She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight.

- Zora Neale Hurston, 1937

Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing — instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.

- Ursula K. Le Guin, 1989

It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly.

- Margaret Mead, 1971

I can not believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.

- Eleanor Roosevelt, 1948

Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.

- Virginia Woolf, 1929

They said, 'You are a savage and dangerous woman.' I am speaking the truth, and the truth is savage and dangerous.

- Nawal El Saadawi, 1975

The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just, and peaceful life for all.

- Aung San Suu Kyi, 1995

A political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it and within it is no struggle at all.

- Arundhati Roy, 2004

Night after night my mother would talk-story until we fell asleep. I couldn’t tell where the stories left off and the dreams began, her voice the voice of the heroines in my sleep.

- Maxine Hong Kingston, 1975

My sisters, whatever concerns the poor is always our affair.

- Mother Joseph, 1902

When caught between two evils, I generally like to take the one I never tried.

- Mae West, 1936

Every woman I have ever loved has left her print upon me, where I loved some invaluable piece of myself apart from me — so different that I had to stretch and grow in order to recognize her.

-Audre Lorde 1982

Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.

- Rosa Luxemburg, 1918

There is nothing more innately human than the tendency to transmute what has become customary into what has been divinely ordained.

- Suzanne La Follette, 1926

There ain’t any answer, there ain’t going to be any answer, there never has been an answer. That’s the answer.

- Gertrude Stein, 1946

The world of science lives fairly comfortably with paradox. We know that light is a wave, and also that light is a particle. The discoveries made in the infinitely small world of particle physics indicate randomness and chance, and I do not find it any more difficult to live with the paradox of a universe of randomness and chance and a universe of pattern and purpose than I do with light as a wave and light as a particle. Living with contradiction is nothing new to the human being.

- Madeleine L’Engle, 1988