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75 Quotes To Celebrate Black History Month (2024)

Black History Month Quote Graphic: This is our national truth: America would not be America without the wealth from Black labor, without Black striving, Black ingenuity, Black resistance. — Nikole Hannah-Jones

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements, contributions, and rich cultural heritage of African Americans.

In recognition of this important heritage month, we’ve curated a collection of beautiful quotes about Black history, the Black experience, and Black History Month. These quotes come from prominent figures in Black history as well as today’s activists, leaders, and creators — and serve as a testament to the strength, resilience, creativity, determination of the Black community.

We hope you’ll not only read and share these quotes during February — but also all year long.

Of course, don’t forget to explore our guide on ideas for how to thoughtfully celebrate Black History Month this year.

The Best Black History Month Quotes

Famous Quotes

“Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.”
— Janelle Monáe

“Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.” — Janelle Monáe

“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

“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

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

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

“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.

“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.

“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

“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

“This is our national truth: America would not be America without the wealth from Black labor, without Black striving, Black ingenuity, Black resistance.”
— Nikole Hannah-Jones

“This is our national truth: America would not be America without the wealth from Black labor, without Black striving, Black ingenuity, Black resistance.” — Nikole Hannah-Jones

“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.” — Nelson Mandela

“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

“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

Quotes About Black History

“The thing about black history is that the truth is so much more complex than anything you could make up.”
— Henry Louis Gates

“The thing about black history is that the truth is so much more complex than anything you could make up.” — Henry Louis Gates

“While history is what happened, it is also, just as important, how we think about what happened and what we unearth and choose to remember about what happened”
Nikole Hannah-Jones

“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

“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

“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

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

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

Inspirational Quotes

“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.” — Mary McLeod Bethune‍

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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

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

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

From Black Women

“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

“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

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

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

“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

“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

“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

Short Quotes

“The time is always right to do what is right.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

“You really can change the world if you care enough.”
— Marian Wright Edelman

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

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

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
— Mae Jemison

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” — Mae Jemison

“Character is power.”
— Booker T. Washington

“Be as you are and hope that it’s right.”
— Dizzy Gillespie

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

“Activism is my rent for living on the planet.”
— Alice Walker

“The soul that is within me no man can degrade.”
— Frederick Douglass

“The soul that is within me no man can degrade.” — Frederick Douglass

Read more short quotes

On Love

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

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

 “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

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.”
— Eldridge Cleaver

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

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

On Education

“If we are truly a great nation, the truth cannot destroy us.”
— Nikole Hannah-Jones

“If we are truly a great nation, the truth cannot destroy us.”— Nikole Hannah-Jones‍

“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

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

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

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

On Leadership 

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

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

“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

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

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

“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

“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

For Students

“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 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

“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

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

“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

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

“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.”
— Beyoncé 

“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.” — Beyoncé 

Quotes About Black History Month

“Black History Month is not simply asking, ‘How can I remember and learn about Black people?’ It is all of us asking, ‘How can we love Black people by seeing them, hearing them, and creating a world where Black people feel loved, inspired, and protected?’”
— Danté Stewart

“Black History Month is not simply asking, ‘How can I remember and learn about Black people?’ It is all of us asking, ‘How can we love Black people by seeing them, hearing them, and creating a world where Black people feel loved, inspired, and protected?’” — Danté Stewart

“Black History Month is a time to honor, learn about, and celebrate the history, contributions, and accomplishments of Black communities in the United States. It is also a time to honor and acknowledge the sacrifices made by Black people today as we continue to fight for equality.”
— Tjada D'Oyen McKenna

“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 deGrasse Tyson

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

“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

“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

“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

Black Excellence 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.” — Oprah Winfrey

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

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

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

More BHM Quotes and Captions

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

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

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

“We cannot make up for all the lives lost and dreams snatched, for all the suffering endured. But we can atone for it. We can acknowledge the crime. And we can do something to try to set things right, to ease the hardship and hurt of so many of our fellow Americans.”
— Nikole Hannah-Jones

“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

“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

“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

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

“As we celebrate Black History Month, I encourage you to learn more about African American history, culture, and contributions. I also encourage you to support Black-owned businesses and Black-led organizations fighting for civil rights in your own community.”
— Tjada D'Oyen McKenna

“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

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

“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.”
Michelle Obama

“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” ‍— Michelle Obama

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