101 Powerful Black History Month Quotes


Every February, the United States celebrates Black History Month. It’s a time to draw special attention to the unique history and culture of Black people in our country and around the world. Use these Black History Month quotes as writing prompts, to inspire research projects, or as a jumping-off point for classroom conversations.

Note: Some of these Black History Month quotes use terms such as “Negro” that are considered offensive in modern usage. Give your students historical context around terms such as these before sharing the quotes with them.

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Quotes About Black History

“You’re going to relegate my history to a month? I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.” -Morgan Freeman

“Won’t it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.” -Maya Angelou

Won't it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.

“Black folk, a lot of us lived as victims in a certain part of our history. And we had to really erase that tape. We’re not victims. We are citizens.” -Dorothy Cotton

Black folk, a lot of us lived as victims in a certain part of our history. And we had to really erase that tape. We're not victims. We are citizens. black history month quotes

“I did not get on the bus to get arrested. I got on the bus to go home.” -Rosa Parks

I did not get on the bus to get arrested. I got on the bus to go home.

“Sometimes I hear people saying nothing has changed, but for someone to grow up the way I grew up in the cotton fields of Alabama to now be serving in the United States Congress makes me want to tell them to come and walk in my shoes. Come walk in the shoes of those who were attacked by police dogs, fire hoses and nightsticks, arrested, and taken to jail.” -John Lewis

Sometimes I hear people saying nothing has changed, but for someone to grow up the way I grew up in the cotton fields of Alabama to now be serving in the United States Congress makes me want to tell them to come and walk in my shoes. Come walk in the shoes of those who were attacked by police dogs, fire hoses and nightsticks, arrested, and taken to jail.

“As a colored woman I might enter Washington any night, stranger in a strange land, and walk miles without finding a place to lay my head.” -Mary Church Terrell

As a colored woman I might enter Washington any night, stranger in a strange land, and walk miles without finding a place to lay my head.

“Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are scared, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going.” -Harriet Tubman

Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are scared, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going. black history month quotes

“The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.” -Mary McLeod Bethune

The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.

“Each day when you see us Black folk upon the dusty land of your farm or upon the hard pavement of your city streets, you usually take it for granted and think you know us, but our history is far stranger than you suspect, and we are not what we seem.” -Richard Wright

Each day when you see us Black folk upon the dusty land of your farm or upon the hard pavement of your city streets, you usually take it for granted and think you know us, but our history is far stranger than you suspect, and we are not what we seem. black history month quotes

“Would America have been America without her Negro people?” -W.E.B. Du Bois

Would America have been America without her Negro people?

“Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” -Ella Baker

Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers' sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother's son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.

“We didn’t have any civil rights. It was just a matter of survival, of existing from one day to the next. I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching and being afraid the house would burn down.” -Rosa Parks

We didn't have any civil rights. It was just a matter of survival, of existing from one day to the next. I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching and being afraid the house would burn down. black history month quotes

“What is the value of winning access to public accommodations for those who lack money to use them? The minute the movement faced this question, it was compelled to expand its vision beyond race relations to economic relations, including the role of education in modern society.” -Bayard Rustin

What is the value of winning access to public accommodations for those who lack money to use them? The minute the movement faced this question, it was compelled to expand its vision beyond race relations to economic relations, including the role of education in modern society.

“I am only a mouthpiece through which to tell the story of lynching and I have told it so often that I know it by heart. I do not have to embellish; it makes its own way.” -Ida B. Wells

I am only a mouthpiece through which to tell the story of lynching and I have told it so often that I know it by heart. I do not have to embellish; it makes its own way

“We Black folk, our history and our present being, are a mirror of all the manifold experiences of America. What we want, what we represent, what we endure is what America is. If we Black folk perish, America will perish.” -Richard Wright

We Black folk, our history and our present being, are a mirror of all the manifold experiences of America. What we want, what we represent, what we endure is what America is. If we Black folk perish, America will perish.

“Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.” -Nelson Mandela

Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.

“But we soon got used to freedom,
Though the way at first was rough;
But we weathered through the tempest,
For slavery made us tough.”
-Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

But we soon got used to freedom,
Though the way at first was rough;
But we weathered through the tempest,
For slavery made us tough.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
-Rosa Parks

People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

“‘We, the people.’ It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787, I was not included in that ‘We, the people.’ I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in ‘We, the people.’” -Barbara Jordan

"'We, the people.' It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787, I was not included in that 'We, the people.' I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in 'We, the people.'" -Barbara Jordan

“In this long climb, Negroes have had white allies since the first white Southerner violated the law by teaching slaves to read and write.” -Roy Wilkins

In this long climb, Negroes have had white allies since the first white Southerner violated the law by teaching slaves to read and write.

“We are the heirs of a past which was not our fathers’ molding.” -Anna Julia Cooper

We are the heirs of a past which was not our fathers' molding.black history month quotes

“We are African, and we happened to be in America. We’re not American. We are people who formerly were Africans who were kidnapped and brought to America. Our forefathers weren’t the Pilgrims. We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock. The rock was landed on us. We were brought here against our will. We were not brought here to be made citizens. We were not brought here to enjoy the constitutional gifts that they speak so beautifully about today.” -Malcolm X

We, the people.' It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787, I was not included in that 'We, the people.' I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in 'We, the people.

“That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, Black, and a woman proves, I would think, that our society is not yet either just or free.” -Shirley Chisholm

That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, Black, and a woman proves, I would think, that our society is not yet either just or free.black history month quotes

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”
-Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

“I thought I was going to die a few times. On the Freedom Ride in the year 1961, when I was beaten at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, I thought I was going to die. On March 7th, 1965, when I was hit in the head with a nightstick by a State Trooper at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death, but nothing can make me question the philosophy of nonviolence.” -John Lewis

I thought I was going to die a few times. On the Freedom Ride in the year 1961, when I was beaten at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, I thought I was going to die. On March 7th, 1965, when I was hit in the head with a nightstick by a State Trooper at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death, but nothing can make me question the philosophy of nonviolence.black history month quotes

“If the ballot doesn’t work, we’ll try something else. But let us try the ballot.” -Malcolm X

If the ballot doesn't work, we'll try something else. But let us try the ballot.

“We will march through the South, through the Heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did. … And I say to you, Wake up, America! Wake up, for we cannot stop and we will not and cannot be patient.” -John Lewis

"We will march through the South, through the Heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did. ... And I say to you, Wake up, America! Wake up, for we cannot stop and we will not and cannot be patient.” -John Lewis

“Too many of our young people know only where we are now, not how we got here nor where we are going. Too many see doors only recently opened and do not appreciate how they got pried ajar … We must always be a strong presence, an unrelenting force working for equality and justice until the freedom gates are fully open.” -Dorothy Height

Too many of our young people know only where we are now, not how we got here nor where we are going. Too many see doors only recently opened and do not appreciate how they got pried ajar ... We must always be a strong presence, an unrelenting force working for equality and justice until the freedom gates are fully open.black history month quotes

“This is one of the most important moments in the life of our country. I stand here before you filled with deep pride and joy: pride in the ordinary, humble people of this country. You have shown such a calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own, and joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops—free at last!” -Nelson Mandela

This is one of the most important moments in the life of our country. I stand here before you filled with deep pride and joy: pride in the ordinary, humble people of this country. You have shown such a calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own, and joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops—free at last!

“History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.”
-Maya Angelou

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Black History Month Quotes by Civil Rights Leaders

“Many whites, even white Southerners, told me that even though it may have seemed like the Blacks were being freed [by my actions] they felt more free and at ease themselves. They thought that my action didn’t just free Blacks but them, too.” -Rosa Parks

Many whites, even white Southerners, told me that even though it may have seemed like the Blacks were being freed [by my actions] they felt more free and at ease themselves. They thought that my action didn't just free Blacks but them, too.

“Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.” -John Lewis

Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

“Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.” -Coretta Scott King

Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.

“There must always be a remedy for wrong and injustice if we only know how to find it.” -Ida B. Wells

There must always be a remedy for wrong and injustice if we only know how to find it. black history month quotes

“There is work to do; that is why I cannot stop or sit still. As long as a child needs help, as long as people are not free, there will be work to do. As long as an elderly person is attacked or in need of support, there is work to do. As long as we have bigotry and crime, we have work to do.” -Rosa Parks

"There is work to do; that is why I cannot stop or sit still. As long as a child needs help, as long as people are not free, there will be work to do. As long as an elderly person is attacked or in need of support, there is work to do. As long as we have bigotry and crime, we have work to do." -Rosa Parks

“To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” -Frederick Douglass

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

“A community is democratic only when the humblest and the weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.” -A. Philip Randolph

A community is democratic only when the humblest and the weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.

“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.” -Mary McLeod Bethune

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. black history month quotes

“Had it not been for the race problem early thrust upon me and enveloping me, I should have probably been an unquestioning worshipper at the shrine of the established social order and of the economic development into which I was born.” -W.E.B. Du Bois

Had it not been for the race problem early thrust upon me and enveloping me, I should have probably been an unquestioning worshipper at the shrine of the established social order and of the economic development into which I was born.

“It is very important to have a great sense of racial identity because I believe it is quite impossible for people to struggle creatively if they do not truly believe in themselves. I believe that dignity is first.” -Bayard Rustin

It is very important to have a great sense of racial identity because I believe it is quite impossible for people to struggle creatively if they do not truly believe in themselves. I believe that dignity is first.

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” -Ida B. Wells

The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them. black history month quotes

“Most of all, I want to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted others to be free.” -Rosa Parks

Most of all, I want to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted others to be free.

“My right and my privilege to stand here before you has been won—won in my lifetime—by the blood and the sweat of the innocent.” -Jesse Jackson

My right and my privilege to stand here before you has been won—won in my lifetime—by the blood and the sweat of the innocent.

“You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it.” -Malcolm X

You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it. black history month quotes

“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.” -Booker T. Washington

You can't hold a man down without staying down with him.

“Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.” -Nelson Mandela

Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.

“We must remake the world. The task is nothing less than that.” -Mary McLeod Bethune

We must remake the world. The task is nothing less than that.

“Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.” -Jesse Jackson

Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.

“I am not anti-white, because I understand that white people, like Black ones, are victims of a racist society. They are products of their time and place.” -Shirley Chisholm

I am not anti-white, because I understand that white people, like Black ones, are victims of a racist society. They are products of their time and place. black history month quotes

“Our future is in the hands of the young, as it always has been. One generation hands off to the next, and each new generation has its own vision, its own ideals, its own beliefs. That is what it means to be young: you believe.” -John Lewis

Our future is in the hands of the young, as it always has been. One generation hands off to the next, and each new generation has its own vision, its own ideals, its own beliefs. That is what it means to be young: you believe.

“Where the really sincere white people have got to do their ‘proving’ of themselves is not among the Black victims, but out on the battle lines of where America’s racism really is—and that’s in their own home communities.” -Malcolm X

Where the really sincere white people have got to do their 'proving' of themselves is not among the Black victims, but out on the battle lines of where America's racism really is—and that's in their own home communities. black history month quotes

“To those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait,’ we must say that ‘patience’ is a dirty and nasty word. We cannot be patient; we do not want to be free gradually. We want our freedom, and we want it now.” -John Lewis

To those who have said, 'Be patient and wait,' we must say that 'patience' is a dirty and nasty word. We cannot be patient; we do not want to be free gradually. We want our freedom, and we want it now.

“Take it upon yourself where you live to make people around you joyful and full of hope.” -Nelson Mandela

ake it upon yourself where you live to make people around you joyful and full of hope.

“We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for … human rights.” -Malcolm X

We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for … human rights.

“I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. … We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.” -Thurgood Marshall

I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. … We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.

Quotes by Black Authors and Artists

“Freedom is choosing your responsibility. It’s not having no responsibilities; it’s choosing the ones you want.” -Toni Morrison

Freedom is choosing your responsibility. It's not having no responsibilities; it's choosing the ones you want. black history month quotes

“Our lives are so diversified, internal attitudes so varied, appearances and capabilities so different, that there is no possible classification so catholic that it will cover us all, except My people! My people!” -Zora Neale Hurston

Our lives are so diversified, internal attitudes so varied, appearances and capabilities so different, that there is no possible classification so catholic that it will cover us all, except My people! My people!

“Everyone’s got to be different. You can’t copy anybody and end up with anything. If you copy, it means you’re working without any real feeling. And without feeling, whatever you do amounts to nothing.” -Billie Holiday

Everyone's got to be different. You can't copy anybody and end up with anything. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. And without feeling, whatever you do amounts to nothing.

“The future was sunset; the past something to leave behind. And if it didn’t stay behind, well, you might have to stomp it out. Slave life; freed life—every day was a test and a trial. Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem.” -Toni Morrison

The future was sunset; the past something to leave behind. And if it didn't stay behind, well, you might have to stomp it out. Slave life; freed life—every day was a test and a trial. Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem.

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” -Ella Fitzgerald

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

“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” -Maya Angelou

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible. black history month quotes

“The whole matter revolves around the self-respect of my people. How much satisfaction can I get from a court order for somebody to associate with me who does not wish me near them?” -Zora Neale Hurston

The whole matter revolves around the self-respect of my people. How much satisfaction can I get from a court order for somebody to associate with me who does not wish me near them?

“I am the American heartbreak—
The rock on which Freedom
Stumped its toe …”
-Langston Hughes

I am the American heartbreak—
The rock on which Freedom
Stumped its toe …

“Hip-hop gave a generation a common ground that didn’t require either race to lose anything; everyone gained.” -Jay-Z

Hip-hop gave a generation a common ground that didn't require either race to lose anything; everyone gained.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -Alice Walker

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.

Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes for Black History Month

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. black history month quotes

“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse, and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.”

Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse, and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.

“So it means that we must rise up and protest courageously wherever we find segregation. Yes, we must do it nonviolently. We cannot afford to use violence in the struggle.”

So it means that we must rise up and protest courageously wherever we find segregation. Yes, we must do it nonviolently. We cannot afford to use violence in the struggle.

“There is no such thing as separate but equal. Separation, segregation, inevitably makes for inequality.”

There is no such thing as separate but equal. Separation, segregation, inevitably makes for inequality.

“The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

“I could never adjust to the separate waiting rooms, separate eating places, separate rest rooms, partly because the separate was always unequal, and partly because the very idea of separation did something to my sense of dignity and self-respect.”

I could never adjust to the separate waiting rooms, separate eating places, separate rest rooms, partly because the separate was always unequal, and partly because the very idea of separation did something to my sense of dignity and self-respect. black history month quotes

“The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists.”

The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists

“We must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.”

We must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

“We shall overcome because the arc of a moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

We shall overcome because the arc of a moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

“Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.”

Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. black history month quotes

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people but the appalling silence of the good people.”

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people but the appalling silence of the good people.

“For all of us today, the battle is in our hands. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways to lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. We must keep going.”

For all of us today, the battle is in our hands. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways to lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. We must keep going.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.”

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.

“We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point, in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike, but either we go up together, or we go down together.”

We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point, in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike, but either we go up together, or we go down together.

Feminist Black History Month Quotes

“I will not shrink from undertaking what seems wise and good, because I labor under the double handicap of race and sex; but, striving to preserve a calm mind with a courageous, cheerful spirit, barring bitterness from my heart, I will struggle all the more earnestly to reach the goal.” -Mary Church Terrell

I will not shrink from undertaking what seems wise and good, because I labor under the double handicap of race and sex; but, striving to preserve a calm mind with a courageous, cheerful spirit, barring bitterness from my heart, I will struggle all the more earnestly to reach the goal. black history month quotes

“Black women could hardly strive for weakness; they had to become strong, for their families and their communities needed their strength to survive … Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells and Rosa Parks are not exceptional Black women as much as they are epitomes of Black womanhood.” -Angela Davis

Black women could hardly strive for weakness; they had to become strong, for their families and their communities needed their strength to survive ... Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells and Rosa Parks are not exceptional Black women as much as they are epitomes of Black womanhood.

“Black women, historically, have been doubly victimized by the twin immoralities of Jim Crow and Jane Crow. … Black women, faced with these dual barriers, have often found that sex bias is more formidable than racial bias.” -Pauli Murray

Black women, historically, have been doubly victimized by the twin immoralities of Jim Crow and Jane Crow. ... Black women, faced with these dual barriers, have often found that sex bias is more formidable than racial bias.

“I really think the range of emotions and perceptions I have had access to as a Black person and as a female person are greater than those of people who are neither. So it seems to me that my world did not shrink because I was a Black female writer. It just got bigger.” -Toni Morrison

I really think the range of emotions and perceptions I have had access to as a Black person and as a female person are greater than those of people who are neither. So it seems to me that my world did not shrink because I was a Black female writer. It just got bigger.

“There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before. So I am for keeping the thing going while things are stirring; because if we wait till it is still, it will take a great while to get it going again.” -Sojourner Truth

There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before. So I am for keeping the thing going while things are stirring; because if we wait till it is still, it will take a great while to get it going again. black history month quotes

“Whenever a conscious Black woman raises her voice on issues central to her existence, somebody is going to call her strident, because they don’t want to hear about it, nor us. I refuse to be silenced and I refuse to be trivialized, even if I do not say what I have to say perfectly.” -Audre Lorde

Whenever a conscious Black woman raises her voice on issues central to her existence, somebody is going to call her strident, because they don't want to hear about it, nor us. I refuse to be silenced and I refuse to be trivialized, even if I do not say what I have to say perfectly.

“No Black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much.’ Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much.’ … No woman has ever written enough.” -bell hooks

No Black woman writer in this culture can write 'too much.' Indeed, no woman writer can write 'too much.' … No woman has ever written enough.

“A white woman has only one handicap to overcome—that of sex. I have two—both sex and race. … Colored men have only one—that of race. Colored women are the only group in this country who have two heavy handicaps to overcome, that of race as well as that of sex.” -Mary Church Terrell

A white woman has only one handicap to overcome—that of sex. I have two—both sex and race. ... Colored men have only one—that of race. Colored women are the only group in this country who have two heavy handicaps to overcome, that of race as well as that of sex. black history month quotes

“In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing—anti-humanism.” -Shirley Chisholm

In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing—anti-humanism.black history month quotes

“I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism.” -Oprah Winfrey

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

More Black History Month Quotes

“The stakes … are too high for government to be a spectator sport.” -Barbara Jordan

The stakes … are too high for government to be a spectator sport.

“We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price. But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes—a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.” -Barack Obama

We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price. But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes—a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts. black history month quotes

“I am grateful for all my victories, but I am especially grateful for my losses, because they only made me work harder.” -Muhammad Ali

I am grateful for all my victories, but I am especially grateful for my losses, because they only made me work harder.black history month quotes

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” -Desmond Tutu

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

“If you want to assert a truth, first make sure it’s not just an opinion that you desperately want to be true.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson

If you want to assert a truth, first make sure it's not just an opinion that you desperately want to be true. black history month quotes

“Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.” -Barack Obama

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you. black history month quotes

“If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.” -Carl Lewis

If you don't have confidence, you'll always find a way not to win.black history month quotes

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a different way to stand.” -Oprah Winfrey

"Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don't fight them. Just find a different way to stand." -Oprah Winfrey

“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.” -Nelson Mandela

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.

“We have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.” -Michelle Obama

We have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.- black history month quotes

How do you use Black History Month quotes like these with your students? Come share your thoughts in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, Fascinating Black History Month Facts for Kids and Teens.



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