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Black History: Famous Quotes

Find online and local resources to learn and celebrate black history.


It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.

- Aesop

God gives nothing to those who keep their arms crossed.

- African Proverb

Muhammad Ali

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.

- Ali, Muhammad

For Africa to me... is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.

- Angelou, Maya

The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.

- Angelou, Maya

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

- Angelou, Maya

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

- Angelou, Maya

It is easy to perform a good action, but not easy to acquire a settled habit of performing such actions.

- Aristotle

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.

- Ashe, Arthur

If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything... that smacks of discrimination or slander.

- Bethune, Mary McLeod

Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth living.

- Bethune, Mary McLeod

We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.

- Brooks, Gwendolyn

We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.

- Carter, Jimmy

George Washington Carver

Where there is no vision, there is no hope.

- Carver, George Washington

The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.

- Cleaver, Eldridge

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

- Douglass, Frederick

The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.

- Du Bois, W.E.B.

You really can change the world if you care enough.

- Edelman, Marian Wright

Just don't give up what you're trying to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.

- Fitzgerald, Ella

Non-cooperation is a measure of discipline and sacrifice, and it demands respect for the opposite views.

- Gandhi, Mohandas

Wherever there is a human being, I see God-given rights inherent in that being, whatever may be the sex or complexion.

- Garrison, William Lloyd

Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough.

- Holiday, Billie

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.

- Hughes, Langston

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.

- Hurston, Zora Neale

Our nation is a rainbow - red, yellow, brown, black, and white - and we're all precious in God's sight.

- Jackson, Jesse

Greatness can be captured in one word: lifestyle. Life is God's gift to you, style is what you make of it.

- Jemison, Mae

Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations.

- Jemison, Mae

One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter.

- Jones, James Earl

One thing is clear to me: We, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves.

- Jordan, Barbara

I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

- Jordan, Michael

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

- Kennedy, Robert F.

Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.

- Kenyan Proverb

Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.

- King, Coretta Scott

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

- King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

- King, Martin Luther, Jr.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

- King, Martin Luther, Jr.

The time is always right to do what is right.

- King, Martin Luther, Jr.

We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit.

- King, Martin Luther, Jr.

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

- Lorde, Audre

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

- Mandela, Nelson

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

- Mandela, Nelson

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

- Mandela, Nelson

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.

- Marshall, Thurgood

Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.

- Moseley-Braun, Carol

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

- Obama, Barack

The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself--the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us--that's where it's at.

- Owens, Jesse

I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear.

- Parks, Parks

Each person must live their life as a model for others.

- Parks, Rosa

Have a vision. Be demanding.

- Powell, Colin

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.

- Powell, Colin

Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.

- Powell, Colin

Freedom is never given; it is won.

- Randolph, A. Philip

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.

- Rudolph, Wilma

Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.

- Taylor, Susan L.

One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.

- Thomas, Franklin

Truth is powerful and it prevails.

- Truth, Sojourner

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

- Tutu, Desmond

Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.

- Unknown

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.

- Walker, Alice

Booker T. Washington

In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.

- Washington, Booker T.

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.

- Washington, Booker T.

There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.

- Washington, Booker T.

You have to believe in yourself when no one else does -- that makes you a winner right there.

- William, Venus

I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism.

- Windfrey, Oprah

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.

- Winfrey, Oprah

All I know is I've tried my best.

- Woods, Tiger

We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.

- Woodson, Carter