Between the World and Me

Samori is the son of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Kenyatta Matthews, and is 15 years old at the time the book is written. The book is addressed to him, and although he does not play a very active role within the narrative, Coates characterizes him as curious and sensitive, with a strong sense of justice.

Samori Coates Quotes in Between the World and Me

The Between the World and Me quotes below are all either spoken by Samori Coates or refer to Samori Coates. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Spiegel & Grau edition of Between the World and Me published in 2015.
Part 1 Quotes

Son,
Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body. The host was broadcasting from Washington, D.C., and I was seated in a remote studio on the far west side of Manhattan. A satellite closed the miles between us, but no machinery could close the gap between her world and the world for which I had been summoned to speak.

Related Characters: Ta-Nehisi Coates (speaker), Samori Coates
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Between the World and Me quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

All our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy––serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.

Related Characters: Ta-Nehisi Coates (speaker), Samori Coates
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui off

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

For so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies. And knowing this, knowing that the Dream persists by warring with the known world, I was sad for the host, I was sad for all those families, I was sad for my country but above all, in that moment, I was sad for you.

Related Characters: Ta-Nehisi Coates (speaker), Samori Coates
Related Symbols: The Dream
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

She said to me, “You take care of my daughter.” When she got out of the car, my world had shifted. I felt that I had crossed some threshold, out of the foyer of my life and into the living room. Everything that was the past seemed to be another life. There was before you, and then there was after, and in this after, you were the God I’d never had. I submitted before your needs, and I knew then that I must survive for something more than survival’s sake. I must survive for you.

Related Characters: Ta-Nehisi Coates (speaker), Samori Coates, Kenyatta Matthews
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 2 Quotes

The entire narrative of this country argues against the truth of who you are.

Related Characters: Ta-Nehisi Coates (speaker), Samori Coates
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.LorLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labo

Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body––it is heritage.

Related Characters: Ta-Nehisi Coates (speaker), Samori Coates
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est lab

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id

Get the entire Between the World and Me LitChart as a printable PDF.
Between the world and me.pdf.medium

Samori Coates Character Timeline in Between the World and Me

The timeline below shows where the character Samori Coates appears in Between the World and Me. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
Coates begins the book in the style of a letter addressed to his son Samori. He explains that he was recently on a talk show where the host asked him... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
At the time Coates is writing, his son Samori is fifteen, and has recently witnessed the violent, racist deaths of Eric Garner, Renisha McBride,... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
That same weekend, Samori learns that the police officer who killed Mike Brown will not be punished, something that... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
...less afraid of “disembodiment,” but he still remains fearful. He recalls that when he was Samori’s age—fifteen—everyone he knew was black, and all of them were afraid. The narrative jumps back... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
...also recognizes it in his own father, Paul, who gave him money to help raise Samori and who also beat Coates as a child—beat him with a severity that showed he... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
Coates observes that Samori’s life is very different from his own. During Samori’s youth, the president is black, social... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
...education taught in elementary school because “they were essential to the security of my body.” Samori, on the other hand, does not have to spend as much time obsessively learning and... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
...explain that his only Mecca is Howard University. Coates’ father, Paul, worked there, many of Samori’s aunts and uncles attended, and it is where Coates and his wife Kenyatta met. Coates... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
...accompanied on this journey of self-discovery by his friend Ben, whom he refers to as Samori’s uncle and “a fellow traveler for life.” Coates continues to write “bad poetry” and read... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
The last time Coates falls in love at Howard is with Kenyatta, Samori’s mother. Kenyatta does not know her father, which is true of most people Coates knows.... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
When the baby is born, Coates and Kenyatta call him Samori, after Samori Touré, the Guinean Muslim cleric who fought French colonizers in the 19th century.... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
Coates encourages Samori to view American history realistically and to resist seeing enslaved people as “chapters in your... (full context)
Part 2
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
Not long before Samori’s birth, Coates was pulled over by the Prince George’s County police. Coates is terrified, recalling... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
When Coates takes Samori into Manhattan, he feels “ill at ease,” aware of the fact that he will not... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Coates recalls one incident in which he takes Samori to the movies on the Upper West Side. On the escalator, Samori is “moving at... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
Coates recalls a trip he took with ten-year-old Samori and his cousin to historical sites from the Civil War. Although the boys are young,... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
...the first place. Coates takes this as evidence that “historians conjured the Dream.” He wants Samori to be aware of the fact that it is “heritage” in America to “destroy the... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
...indulge a delusional worldview that blames black people for their own oppression. Coates apologizes to Samori because he “cannot make it okay,” but adds that he is “not that sorry.” Although... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
Coates tells Samori that he wanted his son to “grow into consciousness,” and recalls when he first took... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
The boy’s mother tells Samori: “You exist. You matter. You have value,” and Coates is glad she says it. He... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
That summer, Coates and Kenyatta take Samori to Paris, in the hope that they will give their son a life “apart from... (full context)
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
...proving that “there was another way beyond the schools and the streets.” He remarks that Samori must find a different path, and notes that Samori enjoys “an abnormal amount of security”... (full context)
Part 3
African-American Family and Heritage Theme Icon
Black Bodies Theme Icon
Captivity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Youth, Education, and Growth Theme Icon
Myth vs. Reality Theme Icon
...away from Dr. Jones’ house thinking about this threat and the struggle that lies before Samori. He encourages Samori to struggle for himself, his family, and his ancestors, but not for... (full context)