170 Inspiring Black History Month Quotes for Inspiration

Black History Month celebrates the achievements and contributions of black people throughout history.

It’s a time and moment to reflect on their trials and hardships, as well as the progress they’ve achieved.

During this month, one of the best way for getting inspiration is to read inspiring quotes from some of history’s most prominent black leaders.


These quotes serve as a source of encouragement to continue the struggle for equality and justice by reminding us of the strength, tenacity, and endurance of black people and communities.

Top 10 Black History Month Quotes


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


Be as you are and hope that it’s right. ~ Dizzy Gillespie.


The best way to make dreams come true is to wake up. ~ Mae C. Jemison.


Activism is my rent for living on the planet. ~ Alice Walker.


Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am. ~ Janelle Monáe.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don’t aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference. ~ Denzel Washington.

Freedom is never given; it is won. ~ A. Philip Randolph.

Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public. ~ Cornel West.

Have a vision. Be demanding. ~ Colin Powell.

Also Read: 18 Black Motherhood Quotes and Sayings for Black Moms and 43 Black Leaders Quotes to Celebrate Black History Month

Famous Black History Month Quotes

Make a difference about something other than yourselves. ~ Toni Morrison.

Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change. ~ Iyanla Vanzant.

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

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

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

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

It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it. ~ Lena Horne.

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

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.

The things that make us different, those are our super powers. ~ Lena Waithe.

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. ~ Malcom X.

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.

You are where you are today because you stand on somebody’s shoulders. And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself. If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders. It’s the quid pro quo of life. We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give. ~ Vernon Jordan.

It was such an incredible high to see, for the first time, such a diverse audience walking into the Metropolitan Opera House because a Black woman was going to be up there. ~ Misty Copeland.

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

There is no vaccine for racism. ~ Kamala Harris.

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. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. ~ Nelson Mandela.

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. ~ Wilma Rudolph.

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

Black History Month must be more than just a month of remembrance; it should be a tribute to our history and reminder of the work that lies in the months and years ahead. ~ Marty Meehan.

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

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.

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

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. ~ Maya Angelou.

Unforgettable Black History Month Quotes

When we’re talking about diversity, it’s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us. ~ Ava DuVernay.

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

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

Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part. ~ John Lewis.

What’s the world for if you can’t make it up the way you want it? ~ Toni Morrison.

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.

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

If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go. ~ James Baldwin.

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.

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.

Black, intelligent, and educated… Now that’s POWER. ~ Stephanie Lahart.

Ultimate Black History Month Quotes

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

History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own. ~ Michelle Obama.

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. ~ Arthur Ashe.

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.

I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about. You look at someone like Gandhi, and he glowed. Martin Luther King glowed. Muhammad Ali glows. I think that’s from being bright all the time, and trying to be brighter. ~ Jay-Z.

Racism is man’s gravest threat to man ~ the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel.

We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks.

We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent. ~ Barack Obama.

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.

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

God’s time [Emancipation]is always near. He set the North Star in the heavens; He gave me the strength in my limbs; He meant I should be free. ~ Harriet Tubman.

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.

Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list. ~ Dennis Leary.

Motivational Black History Month Quotes

I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. ~ Michael Jordan.

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

If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you’re going to get, you become a more successful person. In other words, if you want to make money, you have to help someone else make money. ~ Russell Simmons.

I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… all I ask is that you respect me as a human being. ~ Jackie Robinson.

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.

Life has two rules: number 1, never quit! Number 2, always remember rule number one. ~ Duke Ellington.

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.

She is Black Girl Excellence. She is Me. ~ Stephanie Lahart.

When I look at the future, it’s so bright it burns my eyes. ~ Oprah Winfrey.

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

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. ~ Muhammad Ali.

Inspirational Black History Month Quotes

We never go backward. That’s the plight of the human species, but also our privilege. So as always, a new equation will emerge, and that will be led by the artists and likely powered by them as well. ~ Pharrell Williams.

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

The majority of the Negroes who took part in the year-long boycott of Montgomery’s buses were poor and untutored; but they understood the essence of the Montgomery movement; one elderly woman summed it up for the rest. When asked after several weeks of walking whether she was tired, she answered: ‘My feet is tired, but my soul is at rest.’ ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Loving God is like my being Black. I just am. [No one says] ‘You know what? I’m gonna be blacker today!’ It’s my culture. It’s not something I put on or take off or show more. You just communicate that in the way you live your life. ~ Angela Bassett.

One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter. ~ James Earl Jones.

In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist. ~ Angela Davis.

The impatient idealist says: ‘Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.’ But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. ~ Chinua Achebe.

I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving up. ~ Rosa Parks.

Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. ~ James Baldwin.

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

Friendly reminder that you don’t have to say the ‘n word’ to be racist. That’s not the sole requirement. Asking people to prove racism is another tool the oppressor uses to marginalize and discredit us. ~ Lizzo.

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

To me, we are the most beautiful creatures in the whole world. Black people. And I mean that in every sense. ~ Nina Simone.

Interesting Black History Month Quotes

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.

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it. ~ Toni Morrison.

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.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. ~ Nelson Mandela.

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

There have been so many people who have said to me, ‘You can’t do that,’ but I’ve had an innate belief that they were wrong. Be unwavering and relentless in your approach. ~ Halle Berry.

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. ~ Robert F. Kennedy.

We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right. ~ Aretha Franklin.

The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward. ~ Ijoema Oluo.

Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you’re wasting your life. ~ Jackie Robinson.


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

Best Black History Month Quotes

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

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

A man without knowledge of himself and his heritage is like a tree without roots. ~ Dick Gregory.

Don’t agonize, organize. ~ Florynce Kennedy.

Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what’s more than enough. ~ Billie Holiday.

I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go. ~ Langston Hughes.

We have a wonderful history behind us…and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements. ~ Carter G. Woodson.


If you can be the best, then why not try to be the best? ~ Garrett Morgan.

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

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

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives. ~ Jackie Robinson.

All I know is I’ve tried my best. ~ Tiger Woods.

The very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. ~ Toni Morrison.

Where there is no vision, there is no hope. ~ George Washington Carver.

I always believed that when you follow your heart or your gut, when you really follow the things that feel great to you, you can never lose, because settling is the worst feeling in the world. ~ Rihanna.

Whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free . . . your true self comes out. ~ Tina Turner.

There will always be men struggling to change, and there will always be those who are controlled by the past. ~ Ernest J. Gaines.

The soul that is within me no man can degrade. ~ Frederick Douglass.

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.

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.

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.

Inspiring Black History Month Quotes

I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is all powerful and will prevail. ~ Sojourner Truth.

It isn’t where you come from; it’s where you’re going that counts. ~ Ella Fitzgerald.

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.

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.

Don’t let anything stop you. There will be times when you’ll be disappointed, but you can’t stop. ~ Sadie T. M. Alexander.

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.

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.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

When you put love out in the world it travels, and it can touch people and reach people in ways that we never even expected. ~ Laverne Cox.

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


You are your best thing. ~ Toni Morrison.

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

We’re bosses, and that’s what I consider feminism: female hustlers. ~ Cardi B.

We will all, at some point, encounter hurdles to gaining access and entry, moving up and conquering self-doubt; but on the other side is the capacity to own opportunity and tell our own story. ~ Stacey Abrams.

I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive; I should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted, and when the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me. ~ Harriet Tubman.

Freedom is not something that one people can bestow on another as a gift. Thy claim it as their own and none can keep it from them. ~ Kwame Nkrumah.

Do we care to match the reality of America to its ideals? ~ Barack Obama.

Today we know with certainty that segregation is dead. The only question remaining is how costly will be the funeral. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr..

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.

I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. ~ Muhammad Ali.

It was when I realized I needed to stop trying to be somebody else and be myself, I actually started to own, accept, and love what I had. ~ Tracee Ellis Ross.

Black history isn’t a separate history. This is all of our history, this is American history, and we need to understand that. It has such an impact on kids and their values and how they view black people. ~ Karyn Parsons.

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow. ~ Beyoncé Knowles.

You really can change the world if you care enough. ~ Marian Wright Edelman.

I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay. ~ Tracee Ellis Ross.

Great Black History Month Quotes

Have a vision of excellence, a dream of success, and work like hell. ~ Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook.

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

Did you know that the human voice is the only pure instrument? That it has notes no other instrument has? It’s like being between the keys of a piano. ~ Nina Simone.


Stretch your mind and fly. ~ Whitney M. Young Jr.

I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black; it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect. ~ June Jordan.

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. ~ Jesse Owens.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. ~ Frederick Douglass.

‘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.

As black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences ~ experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as black women is take the worst situations and create from that point. ~ Viola Davis.

You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served. ~ Nina Simone.

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

Truth is powerful and it prevails. ~ Sojourner Truth.

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.

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

So these were the 170 top Black History Month quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Good Morning quotes and Good Night quotes.

References and Sources:

  1. 74 Powerful Black History Month Quotes for School and Work
  2. 35 Quotes From Powerful Leaders To Celebrate Black History
  3. 120 Inspiring Black History Month Quotes – Parade
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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar