100 Inspirational Quotes About Celebrating Black History Month

100 Inspirational Quotes About Celebrating Black History Month
Quotes, Entertainment And News

Iconic quotes from Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and more.

Although some may see the celebration of Black History Month as another school assignment that's no longer is relevant in today’s society, we as a society continue to see issues with race and inequality intermixed in music, politics, and today’s media.

When we think of Black History Month, our first thoughts are about abolitionism, but it isn’t about freedom from slavery alone. The celebration of black culture through the month of February continues to be an emblem of hope and seeking justice under any discrimination.

While physical chains are broken, there’s still chains of inequality that remain. “ Seventy-nine percent of African Americans expressed no interest or some embarrassment about slavery,” according to a Smithsonian Institution of 1988. The question shouldn’t be, ‘Why did slavery last so long?’ It should be ‘How will we continue to move forward towards a hopeful future?’

Black History Month isn’t only an African American success story, but it’s also an ongoing triumph in today’s society. The stunning examples of strength from iconic like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and more remind us of the equality for humanity that we all deserve.

RELATED: 75 Inspirational Quotes From The World's Greatest Leaders To Celebrate Black History Month

At the end of this moth of celebrating Black History Month, let's continue to recognize the great things we've accomplished as a country and remember these lessons taught by the great leaders of the past as we charge forward into the rest of the year. Take a look at out collection of the best inspirational quotes about Black History Month below — not only are these quotes meant to remember the past but to also inspire our future as a growing nation aiming for equality and justice.

1. Black history month is about remembering the leaders of the past.

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

RELATED: 10 Inspiring Quotes From Civil Rights Activist Ida B. Wells

2. History is a reminder of how much we've grown.

"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." — Dr. Maya Angelou

3. Choose your reality.

"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."

—Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

4. Find strength in your vision

"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." — Audre Lorde

5. Work toward excellence.

"I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism." — Oprah Winfrey

6. Be courageous.

"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." — Muhammad Ali

7. Acceptance is the key to a healthy society.

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

8. Love defeats hate.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

9. Failures lead to success.

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six 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." — Michael Jordan

10. Broken wings can learn to fly.

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." — Langston Hughes

RELATED: The Stunning Love Stories Of 5 Incredible Black Authors

11. Wait for no one.

"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." — Barack Obama

12. When you feel accomplished for making a real difference.

"When I found I had crossed that line, [on her first escape from slavery, 1845] I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such glory over everything." — Harriet Tubman

13. Don’t let others define you.

“ Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” — Carol Moseley- Braun

14. Living up to America's constitution.

“There is no Negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their own constitution.” — Fredrick Douglas

15. Always protest openly.

“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 Bethune

16. Being true to your roots.

“It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.” — Malcolm X

17. The art of living together in unity.

“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.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

18. Die fighting for what's right.

“I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or rat in a trap. I had already determined to sell my life as early as possible if attacked. I felt if I could take one lyncher with me, this would even up the score a little bit.” — Ida B. Wells

19. Know who you are and what you stand for.

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.” — Michelle Obama

20. Justice isn't easy.

“I knew then and I know now when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it.” — Claudette Colvin

21. When we know the world has changed for the better.

“If the only time you think of me as a scientist is during Black History Month, then I must not be doing my job as a scientist.” — Neil Tyson

22. What Black History Month reminds us of...

“During Black History Month, I’m reminded yet again of the ways that the struggle for civil rights is interwoven with the struggle for workers’ rights.” — Tom Perez

23. We have to look to the past with respect to move forward.

“You can never know where you are going unless you know where you have been.” — Amelia B. Robinson

24. You are whoever you say you are.

“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” — Susan L. Taylor

25. The definition of diversity.

“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” — Ola Joseph

26. Go after the things you love.

“You can only become accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” — Maya Angelou

27. Success is measured by our obstacles.

“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.” — Booker T. Washington

28. Take control of your life.

“There are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.” — Rita Dove

29. Work hard.

“Go to work! Go to work in the morn of a new creation… until you have… reached the height of self-progress, and from that pinnacle bestow upon the world civilization of your own.” — Marcus Garvey

30. Peace and freedom go hand in hand.

“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” — Malcolm X

31. Take advantage of the opportunities you've been given.

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” — Madam C.J Walker

32. You will reach your dreams.

“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” — Jesse Owens

33. Don’t limit yourself.

“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey

34. Think about where you want to be years from now.

“Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there.” — Diana Ross

35. Don’t be influenced by what other people want you to be.

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” — Audre Lorde

36. No one is better.

“You are no better than anyone else, and no one is better than you.” — Katherine Johnson

37. Fight for the people you love.

“I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn’t love me has to say about me” — Viola Davis

38. The impossible is possible.

“Magic lies in challenging what seems impossible.” — Carol M. Braun

39. Start with a simple step.

“Start where you are, with what you have. Make something of it and never be satisfied.” — George Carver

40. Overcome your fears.

“I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.” — Serena Williams

RELATED: Nevertheless... She Persisted: My Blackness And My History Are My STRENGTH

41. You are the answer to your prayers.

“I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” — Fredrick Douglas

42. Hard work is the main ingredient to success.

“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” — Shonda Rhimes

43. Don’t stand on the sidelines.

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” — Shirley Chisholm

44. Let success be written on your tombstone.

“I used to want the words ‘She tried’ on my tombstone. Now I want ‘She did it.’” — Katherine Dunham

45. You can always move forward.

“Everything will change. The only question is growing up or decaying.” — Nikki Giovanni

46. Face your challenges head-on.

“There is never a time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.” — James Baldwin

47. The world is your playground.

“What’s the world for if you can’t make it up the way you want it?” — Toni Morrison

48. Always keep moving forward.

“If you can’t fly then run if you can’t run then walk if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

49. The people who support you don't try to keep you quiet.

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” — Alice Walker

50. You’re a walking example.

“You never know how or when you’ll have an impact, or how important your example can be to someone else.” — Denzel Washington

RELATED: 30 Quotes From Famous Historical Leaders To Inspire You To Make Your Mark On The World

51. Never forget your roots.

"For I am my mother’s daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart." — Mary McLeod Bethune

52. Moving on stronger.

"With an open heart, we can abandon the overheated rhetoric and the oversimplification that reduces whole categories of our fellow Americans not just to opponents, but to enemies." — Barack Obama

53. Dare to be powerful.

"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." — Audre Lorde

54. Freedom has always been worth fighting for.

"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." — W.E.B. Du Bois

55. One day we'll get there.

"Black people have always been America’s wilderness in search of a promised land." — Cornel West

56. Stay committed to the cause.

"Hold on to your dreams of a better life and stay committed to striving to realize it." — Earl G. Graves, Sr.

57. Rise and stand tall.

"Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise." — Maya Angelou

58. Confidence is the first step to making a real difference.

"If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life." — Marcus Garvey

59. It's important to work together as one while maintaining our individuality.

"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." — Booker T. Washington

60. Sadly the struggle has been hard.

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." — Frederick Douglass

61. Dreams begin with one person.

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." — Harriet Tubman

62. Look at how far we've come.

"I'm here to say we must reject such despair. I'm here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem, and I know that because I know America. I know how far we've come against impossible odds." — Barack Obama

63. Sometimes what we really need is a little common sense.

"Do not call for black power or green power. Call for brain power." — Barbara Jordan

64. Work hard to make real progress.

"Go to work! Go to work in the morn of a new creation… until you have… reached the height of self-progress, and from that pinnacle bestow upon the world a civilization of your own." — Marcus Garvey

65. Don't lose hope.

"If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you to go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

66. Thurgood Marshall was the first African American U.S. Supreme Court member.

"In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute." — Thurgood Marshall

67. Live together as brothers.

"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." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

68. Work to create policies that work.

"In the end, it's not about finding policies that work; it’s about forging consensus, and fighting cynicism, and finding the will to make change." — Barack Obama

69. It's not fair.

"I swear to the Lord I still can’t see why democracy means everybody but me." — Langston Hughes

70. Small makes a big difference.

"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

RELATED: 3 Big Love Lessons From Martin Luther King, Jr.

71. Instead of hating, learn to love.

"Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated." — Coretta Scott King

72. Don't let your dreams go.

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

73. History includes all of us.

"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." — Carter Woodson

74. All lives matter, as do black lives.

"It’s important for us to also understand that the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability." — Barack Obama

75. Know what's wrong — and what's right.

"I’m not quite sure what freedom is, but i know damn well what it ain’t. How have we gotten so silly, I wonder." — Assata Shakur

76. Look at things from a different perspective.

"You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man" — Frederick Douglass

77. Never be ashamed of where you come from. Instead, use it to make you stronger.

"We are the heirs of a past of rope, fire, and murder. I for one am not ashamed of this past. My shame is for those who became so inhuman that they could inflict this torture upon us." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

78. Think it in to existence.

"Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us." — Susan L. Taylor

79. Take the freedom you deserve.

"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it." — Malcolm X

80. Franklin Thomas, former president of the Ford Foundation, was a philanthropist and activist.

"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." — Franklin Thomas

81. We are one in the same.

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

82. Un-limit yourself.

"Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations." — Dr. Mae Jemison

83. Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

"Have a vision. Be demanding." — Colin Powell

84. We are all human.

"Can we see in each other a common humanity, a shared dignity, and recognize how our different experiences have shaped us?" — Barack Obama

85. One of the greatest civil rights activists in history.

"Freedom is never given; it is won." — A. Philip Randolph

86. Make a difference.

"There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged into the abyss of exploitation and nagging injustice." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

87. Stay true to yourself.

"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" — Booker T. Washington

88. History is created by all of us.

"I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history." — Morgan Freeman

89. Stop waiting.

"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." — Barack Obama

90. Never forget.

"We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation’s greatness." — Yvette Clarke

91. Have a vision for your life.

"Where there is no vision, there is no hope." — George Washington Carver

92. Do what's right and remember your civil duty.

"Our responsibility as citizens is to address the inequalities and injustices that linger, and we must secure our birthright freedoms for all people. As we mark the 40th year of National African American History Month, let us reflect on the sacrifices and contributions made by generations of African Americans, and let us resolve to continue our march toward a day when every person knows the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" — Barack Obama

93. Olympic athlete, Jesse Owens, knows a thing or two about working hard toward your dreams.

"We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort." — Jesse Owens

94. You can't go wrong when you start with love.

"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." — Ella Fitzgerald

95. Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who became an African-American abolitionist.

"When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything." — Harriet Tubman

96. It's all about love.

"It’s not about color. It’s about love." — Unknown

97. Do what's right.

"The time is always right to do what is right." — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

98. Don't doubt yourself.

”Yes we can!” — Barack Obama

99. What doesn't break you makes you stronger.

"The African race is a rubber ball. The harder you dash it to the ground, the higher it will rise." — African Proverb

100. Just U.S. history.

"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

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Sofia Stewart is a writer who covers pop culture, astrology, and relationship topics.

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