The April 2005 Edition of Street Spirit

A publication of the American Friends Service Committee


National AFSC AFSC Economic Justice BOSS Website



In this issue:

Murder of Mary Katherine King

Eyes Wide Open

California Lifts Food Stamp Ban

The Ordeal of Ramona Choyce

Republicans Shred Disabled Housing

Art and Activism of Jos Sances

The Paintings of Jos Sances

Gambling with Social Security

Billionaires Grow Richer, Poverty Worsens

Existence Itself Is Banned for the Homeless Poor

Bush Policy Errs on Chronic Homelessness

Sankofa House: A Rainbow for Homeless Women

Student Summit Against Hunger

A Lifetime at the Bus Stop

Working for Transit Justice

Poor Leonard's Almanack

BOSS Community Organizing

The Anguish of Classism





May 2005

February 2005






Street Spirit is published by American Friends Service Committee.

All works are copyrighted by the authors.

The views expressed in Street Spirit are those of the individual authors alone, and not necessarily that of the American Friends Service Committee.

Poor Leonard's Almanack

Quotations and Original Thoughts

by Leonard Roy Frank

Street Spirit April 2005

On Heroism

1. How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
MAYA ANGELOU (poet and writer), quoted in Chris Orr, "Moms and Whoopi: Pioneers of Black Theater," Plexus, November 1983

2. True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
ARTHUR ASHE (tennis player, 1943-1993), quoted in "Points to Ponder," Reader's Digest, August 1994

3. The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rites of passage: separation - initiation - return: which might be named the nuclear unit of the monomyth.
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
JOSEPH CAMPBELL (mythologist), prologue to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 1949

4. The hero saves us. Praise the hero! Now, who will save us from the hero?
CATO the ELDER (Roman statesman, 234-149 B.C.), Roman Senate speech, quoted in David Schoenbrun, The Three Lives of Charles de Gaulle, 1968

5. No man is a hero to his valet.
ANNE-MARIE de CORNUEL (French society figure, 1614-1694), Lettres de Mlle Aisse, 1728

6. Every hero becomes a bore at last.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON (philosopher), "Uses of Great Men," Representative Men, 1850

7. Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy.
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (writer, 1896-1940), "The Note-Books," The Crack-Up, edited by Edmund Wilson, 1945

8. The hero in history is the individual to whom we can justifiably attribute preponderant influence in determining an issue or event whose consequences would have been profoundly different if he had not acted as he did.
SIDNEY HOOK (philosopher), The Hero in History: A Study in Limitation and Possibility, 1943

9. Heroes are created by popular demand, sometimes out of the scantiest materials, or none at all.
GERALD W. JOHNSON (writer), American Heroes and Hero-Worship, 1943

10. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
HELEN KELLER (writer, 1880-1968), quoted in Charles L. Wallis, The Treasure Chest, 1983

11. Questioner: How did you become a war hero?
Kennedy: It was involuntary. They sank my boat.
JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917-1963), format adapted, quoted in Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, 1965

12. When you feel like the world is against you or you give up hope, you look at your heroes and say, "They were able to do it. They had hard times and a lot of opposition, but they got through it." Then you feel, "I can do it too."
JOHN LEGUIZAMO (Columbian-born U.S. actor and playwright), quoted in Ponchitta Pierce, "Who Are Our Heroes?" Parade Magazine, 6 August 1995

13. They ask nothing of you except that you participate in their superabundant joy of living. They never inquire which side of the fence you are on because the world they inhabit has no fences. They make themselves invulnerable by habitually exposing themselves to every danger. They grow more heroic in the measure that they reveal their weaknesses.
HENRY MILLER (writer), The Colossus of Maroussi, 1941

14. Within the Arab circle there is a role wandering aimlessly in search of a hero.... The role is to spark the tremendous latent strengths in the region surrounding us to create a great power, which will then rise up to a level of dignity and undertake a positive part in building the future of mankind.
GAMAL ABDEL NASSER (Egyptian prime minister), The Philosophy of the Revolution, 1954

15. The high sentiments always win in the end, the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.
GEORGE ORWELL (English writer), "The Art of Donald McGill" (essay), September 1941

16. The hero's task always has been to bring new life to a dying culture.
CAROL S. PEARSON (mythologist, psychologist), The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By, 1986

17. Heroing is one of the shortest-lifed [sic] professions there is.
WILL ROGERS (writer and actor), 17 February 1925, The Autobiography of Will Rogers, edited by Donald Day, 1949

18. One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.
MARY SARTON (writer), introduction to John Le Carre, The Russia House, 1989

19. What a hero one can be without moving a finger!
HENRY DAVID THOREAU (philosopher), journal, 13 July 1838

20. The numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known!
WALT WHITMAN (poet), "Song of Myself," 1855, Leaves of Grass, 1855-1892

21. Is society debasing the idea of heroism by using it to describe anyone who makes people feel good about themselves?
LENA WILLIAMS (journalist), "What It Takes to Make a Hero," New York Times, 18 June 1995

22. The hero may know defeat, but never despair.

23. There are no heroes in a bad cause.

24. Heroes stand out as much for the darkness surrounding them as for the light they radiate.

Leonard Roy Frank is the editor of Random House Webster's Quotationary. Random House published his Freedom: Quotes and Passages from the World's Greatest Freethinkers and 5 gift books titled Inspiration, Love, Money, Wisdom, and Wit.

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