Black History Month : 20 Inspiring Quotes from African American Women

Rosa Parks

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” Rosa Parks (1913-2005) African American civil rights activist, whom the U.S.  Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) American playwright, best known for “A Raisin in the Sun”

“The triumph can’t be had without the struggle.” Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) First American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympic Games

“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.” Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) Founder of Bethune-Cookman College and of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)

“If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019 ) First African American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature

“If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more.” Harriet Tubman (1820-1930)  Fugitive slave, underground railroad conductor, abolitionist, and (during the U.S. Civil War) a Union spy, soldier and nurse

“The minute a person whose word means a great deal to others dares to take the open-hearted and courageous way, many others follow.” Marian Anderson (1897-1993)  First African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1955

Mae Jemison.jpg“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”  Mae Jemison (1956 – ) First African American woman to travel in space

“Give light and people will find the way.” Ella Baker (1903-1986) African American civil rights and human rights activist

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”  Maya Angelou (1928-2014)  American author, poet, and civil rights activist

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne (1917-2010) American singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist.

“I am, was, and always will be a catalyst for change.”  Shirley Chisholm (1924- 2005) First black woman elected to the U.S. Congress

“A crown, if it hurts us, is not worth wearing.” Pearl Bailey (1918- 1990) American actress and singer

“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”  Coretta Scott King (1927-2006) American author, activist, and civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” Oprah Winfrey (1954 – ) American media owner, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist

Althea Gibson“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” Althea Gibson (1927-2003) American tennis player and professional golfer, and the first black athlete to cross the color line of international tennis

“I got my start by giving myself a start.” Madam C. J. Walker ( 1867-1919) American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the first female self-made millionaire in America

“You can dream big and it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from.”  Misty Copeland (1982 –  ) First African-American performer to be appointed as a principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre

“Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others.” Marian Wright Edelman (1939 –  ) American activist for the rights of children

“It isn’t where you come from; it’s where you’re going that counts.” Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) American jazz singer often referred to as the First Lady of Song


About Inspired by My Mom

A blog about women and those who inspired them to be the best that they can be. @BettyEitner creator, blogger, editor
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11 Responses to Black History Month : 20 Inspiring Quotes from African American Women

  1. Now those are some amazing, inspiring and beautiful quotes from women we can look up to. I enjoyed reading them, thank you!


  2. heraldmarty says:

    These are all such wonderfully empowering quotes. You know that quote by Harriet Tubman has always bothered me, maybe because her point really resonates. Working in personal growth you see so many people unhappy and living in denial about their ability to do something about it, it can really get you down if you let it. Thanks so much for this beautiful post Betty!


  3. What a beautiful collection, thank you! Especially this one from Lena Horne: “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” As someone dealing with a load of health issues, this one really resonates!


  4. rozbeads says:

    The women were not new to me, but some of their quotes are. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.


  5. kimdalferes says:

    “Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” That may very well be my new mantra.


  6. Pingback: 10 Firsts for African-American Women | Inspired By My Mom

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