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Quotes for
Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Character)
from Ragtime (1981)

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Ragtime (1981)
Younger Brother: What kind of music do you play?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Anything they ask me to, and then I play ragtime.

Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I read music so good, white folks think I'm fakin' it.

P.C. O'Donnell: Nobody's intimidating me, Mister. You just don't know what you're getting yourself into, and I'm trying to keep your nose clean. Now, would you be a good boy and just get along.?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I want my car cleaned!
P.C. O'Donnell: Clean it then, damn you! Clean it and go!
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I want the man who did it to clean it!
P.C. O'Donnell: All right, all right, let me pit it this way. I can arrest you for blocking a public service exit, for creating a public nuisance, and about ten other things I ain't gonna mention. Now, am I making myself clear?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Yes.
P.C. O'Donnell: Good.
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Officer, I still want my car cleaned.
P.C. O'Donnell: Oh, for Christ's sake! Ain't you got any sense in your head? I'm trying to help you! You leave me no choice.
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I'm sorry.
P.C. O'Donnell: You're under arrest!

Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [while praying] Lord, why did you fill me with such rage?

[Coalhouse has just learned that his friends have safely escaped]
Father: [trepidatiously] Well, shouldn't we... uh... tell them... that we're... we're coming?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [calmly] Yeah. You go on ahead. Tell 'em I'll be right out.
Father: [hesitates] Well...
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Just go on. I'll be with you.
Father: [still hesitates] Don't...?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [firmly] Go.
Father: [stammering] Don't you think it would be... a better idea if we...?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [exploding] GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! Don't you understand ANYTHING, white man?
Father: [terrified, rushes out of the library]

Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [praying] Lord, I'd hoped I'd have the courage to know what I should do now. You must see how sick at heart I've been... and how I've performed this thing with little appetite.
[sobbing]
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I'd hoped... you'd reveal to me along the way why you put such a rage in my heart.
[a brief pause]
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Tell me what to do now!
[another beat]
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Please.
[sighs]
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: God, tell me what to do.

Black Lawyer: [Coalhouse tries to sue for his car being damaged] Well, what's your financial situation like?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [sighs] I have a little laid by. I planned to use it on my wedding, but I guess it'll have to wait.
Black Lawyer: Hmm. Mr. Walker, let me give you some advice. You spend the money on your wedding. Build yourself a home and a family where you can find some comfort. And just forget that some damn white man caused you offense.
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: And that's your advice?
Black Lawyer: That's my advice, and I pray you take it to heart.
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Just forget it? Is that it?
Black Lawyer: I've spent my whole life forgetting. You're a young man. You better start learning now.
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Learning what? How to be a nigger?
Black Lawyer: [after a pause] Mr. Walker, I'll thank you to leave. I have some charity cases you know nothing of. I got clients with real problems - starvation, illness, dispossession. Yes, I want justice for our people. Yes, I do. I want it so bad, I can taste it. If you think I'll go to Westchester County pleading on the behalf of a colored man that somebody dirtied his fancy car, you are very much mistaken. Now, please, you take this and leave my office.
[Gives Coalhouse papers]