Best 199 of Black history quotes - MyQuotes
It's ironic when black non-Muslims say Islam is not a religion that uplifts black people when two of the most celebrated black heroes in recent history were both Muslim; Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.
Canceled checks will be to future historians and cultural anthropologists what the Dead Sea Scrolls and hieroglyphics are to us.
Plus I have no doubt that their garden is also where my grandparents dreamed—for a better life of equality for their grandchildren and future generations. As people rooted in their faith, they probably did a lot of praying here as well, that God would deliver us all to prosperity and peace beyond this plot of land.
I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. It gets in the way of Black History Month. Cupid didn't free any slaves.
The official erasure of any existence before enslavement – as if black Americans did not exist before the yolk and the chains and whip – has always created a passion for us. Black people need to find out. We have to find out Who We Are and Where We Come From.
Black people are not the descendants of kings. We are—and I say this with big pride—the progeny of slaves. If there’s any majesty in our struggle, it lies not in fairy tales but in those humble origins and the great distance we’ve traveled since. Ditto for the dreams of a separate but noble past. Cosby’s, and much of black America’s, conservative analysis flattens history and smooths over the wrinkles that have characterized black America since its inception.
In 2001, the Associated Press published a three-part investigation into the theft of black-owned land stretching back to the antebellum period. The series documented some 406 victims and 24,000 acres of land values at tends of millions of dollars. The land was taken through means ranging from legal chicanery to terrorism.
But when they brought Sabira out, the crowd parted almost magically. A sea of hands rose faster than a swell and a bidding war commenced, amongst these civilized gentlemen who made their living off the backs of slaves.
Those Garveyites I knew could never understand why I liked them but would never follow them, and I pitied them too much to tell them that they could never achieve their goal, that Africa was owned by the imperial powers of Europe, that their lives were alien to the mores of the natives of Africa, that they were people of the West and would for ever be so until they either merged with the West or perished.
Martin Luther King Jr.
When the Negro was completely an underdog, he needed white spokesmen. Liberals played their parts in this period exceedingly well.... But now that the Negro has rejected his role as an underdog, he has become more assertive in his search for identity and group solidarity; he wants to speak for himself.
I will not take 'but' for an answer. Negroes have been looking at democracy's 'but' too long.
Black seamen - or "Black Jacks" as African sailors were known - enjoyed a refreshing world of liberty and equality. Even if they were generally regulated to jobs such as cooks, servants, and muscians and endured thier fellow seamen's racism, they were still freemen in the Royal Navy. One famous black sailor wrote, "I liked this little ship very much. I now became the captian's steward, in which I was very happy; for I was extremely well treated by all on board, and I had the leisure to improve myself in reading and writing.
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Ugly is, as Ugly does!
If origin defines race, then we are all Africans – we are all black.
I have observed this in my experience of slavery, that whenever my condition was improved, instead of increasing my contentment; it only increased my desire to be free, and set me thinking of plans to gain my freedom.
Black History Month should be celebrated everyday. It's a month that's kind of sad to me, because I am reminded of the struggles that people before us had to go through for us to be able to live comfortably today.
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.
We learned how to envision a different neighborhood, fought for the resources to make it happen, and in March 1968, through the Medical School Agreements, had been given the green light to proceed. All we had to do was make it happen--and ascend to a new level of power in the community.
To my Black brothers and sisters, choose faith. As difficult as it is, choose faith—the kind of faith that we know without works is dead. The faith that raises awareness, educates the community, advocates, cares for the widows and feeds the orphans. Choose the faith that is compelled to action, but not controlled my anger.
I had not expected the gentle, tentative surge of gratitude I began to feel...for St. Paul's School, the spring, and the early morning. I needed the morning light and the warbling birds. I needed to find a way to live in this place for a moment and get the good of it. I had tried to hold myself apart, and the aloneness proved more terrible than what I had tried to escape.
What these thinkers, chroniclers, and interpreters have written about, how they have theorized their scholarly endeavors, and their approaches and methodologies have inevitably been informed and shaped by the times in which they existed.
In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.
I remembered how tough it was getting black people in large tenements to come together to build a playground. The enemy was not the Klan by the inside-outside lock that racism and classism had on the minds of the people: It operated from the inside through self-hate and self-doubt, and from the outside through the police, carnivorous landlords, and the welfare system.
The decision to integrate was based on the fact that Black America could save Major League Baseball. It would be the inclusion of Black baseball players that would bring life back to a dying pastime in America. (from... How to Move Black America Forward)
I did a book in 1996, an overview of black history. In that process I became more aware of a lot of the black inventors of the 19th century.
But the Irish became white when they got here and began rising in the world, whereas I became black and began sinking.
No, there is plenty wrong with Negroes. They have no society. They’re robots, automatons. No minds of their own. I hate to say that about us, but it’s the truth. They are a black body with a white brain.
No time to marry, no time to settle down; I'm a young woman, and I ain't done runnin' around.
I couldn’t figure out if it was fate or faith that had brought me there. How funny those two words sounded when paired together. One was the inevitable, something I could not change in my life, while the other was the hope and belief that I could. These two words were enemies of each other, and one of them was down right dangerous for a slave to have anywhere near his mind.
...and I think about living in a place that’s chock full of History and devoid of memory. I think about how it’s impossible for a nation to have a conscience if it doesn’t have a memory.
How a member of the church—one who had read the Good Lord’s bible—could sit so calmly and watch a man be led to his destruction frightened me.
You got a child to feed and a life to get on with.
Black History Month is a great celebration for Black people everywhere. I just hope we get to the point as Black people that we celebrate everyday like it is Black History month by living our lives and aspiring to be all we can. Many people lost their lives for us to have the privileges we have so we need to honor them by striving to be the best we can be.
We as a black culture have been through so much from slavery, lynching, dogs sicced on us,water hosed down, shot and killed in America. But we shall still overcome everything!
Greatness occurs when your children love you, when your critics respect you and when you have peace of mind.
As we celebrate Black History Month we should be grateful for the achievements they made and inspired by their legacies to continue their work.
Between 1882 and 1968, more black people were lynched in MIssissippi than in any other state.
While slaveowners worked vigorously to allow slaves only so much biblical teaching as to make them good, docile, submissive slaves, even the most basic moral elements of Christian truth proved revolutionary. This phenomenon arises clearly with the commandment against theft. Reading the proslavery defenses from the antebellum era, one encounters consistent references to slaves stealing and "pilfering" from their masters' stores and livestock, etc. This is always held up as evidence of their incapacity for civilization. Yet it was hardly any lack of capacity; it was resistance and restitution in their keen understanding of their masters' hypocrisy. "While white preachers repeatedly urged 'Don't steal,' slaves just as persistently denied that this commandment applied to them, since they themselves were stolen property." Former slave Josephine Howard retorted to those slaveholders who preached against theft: "[T]hen why did de white folks steal my mammy and her mammy? . . . Dat de sinfulles' stealin' dey is." A Virginian slave preached back at his master, "You white folks set the bad example of stealing—you stole us from Africa, and not content with that, if any got free here, you stole them afterward, and so we are made slaves." Former Georgian slave George Womble agreed: "Slaves were taught to steal by their masters." [...] It is no wonder that whole audiences full of slaves were known to get up and leave the preaching services of missionaries when they began to preach on stealing. They simply could not stomach the hypocrisy.
Martin Luther King Jr.
There is such a thing as the freedom of exhaustion. Some people are so worn down by the yoke of oppression that they give up. [...] The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber. [...] To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right.
Never before has the seductive market way of life held such sway in nearly every sphere of American life. This marketing way of life promotes addictions to stimulation and obsessions with comfort and convenience ... centered primarily around bodily pleasures and status rankings. ... The common denominator is a rugged and ragged individualism and rapacious hedonism in quest of a perennial "high" in body and mind.
Besides the moral courage required to accept commissions in the Fifty-fourth at the time it was organizing, physical courage was also necessary, for the Confederate Congress, on May 1, 1863, passed an act, a potion of which read as follow: - Section IV. That every white person being a commissioned officer, or acting as such, who, during the present war, shall command negroes or mulattoes in arms against the Confederate States, or who shall arm, train, organize, or prepare negroes or mulattoes for military service against the Confederate States, or who shall voluntarily aid negroes or mulattoes in any military enterprise, attack, or conflict in such service, shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection, and shall, if captured, be put to death or be otherwise punished at the discretion of the Court.
Harriet Ann Jacobs
I once two beautiful children playing together. One was a fair white child; the other was her slave, and also her sister. When I saw them embracing each other, and heard their joyous laughter, I turned sadly away from the lovely sight. I foresaw the inevitable blight that would follow on the little slave's heart. I knew how soon her laughter would be changed to sighs. The fair child grew up to be a still fairer woman. From childhood to womanhood her pathway was blooming with flowers, and overarched by a sunny sky. Scarcely one day of her life had been clouded when the sun rose on her happy bridal morning. How had those years dealt with her slave sister, the little playmate of her childhood? She, also, was very beautiful; but the flowers and sunshine of love were not for her. She drank the cup of sin, and shame, and misery, whereof her persecuted race are compelled to drink. In view of these things, why are ye silent, ye free men and women of the north? Why do your tongues falter in maintenance of the right? Would that I had more ability! But my heart is so full, and my pen is so weak! There are noble men and women who plead for us, striving to help those who cannot help themselves. God bless them! God give them strength and courage to go on! God bless those, every where, who are laboring to advance the cause of humanity!
We intend to make this world the most beautiful, glorious planet that any human being can imagine and, really, beyond anything any human being can imagine.
Not one thought entered my head that did not seem disloyal. I was ashamed, seeing their pride close up, as if for the first time, at how little I had accomplished, how much I had failed to do at St. Paul's. Somewhere in the last two years I had forgotten my mission. What had I done, I kept thinking, that was worthy of their faith? How had I helped my race? How had I prepared myself for a meaningful future? ... They were right: only a handful of us got this break. I wanted to shout at them that I had squandered it. Now that it's all over, hey, I'm not your girl! I couldn't do it.
It is character that should be the sole measure of judgement in the society of thinking humanity, and nothing short of that would do.
The world is a severe schoolmaster, for its frowns are less dangerous than its smiles and flatteries, and it is a difficult task to keep in the path of wisdom.
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may tread me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries. Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard 'Cause I laugh like I got gold mines Diggin' in my own back yard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history's shame I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
In this shifting landscape, we may tend to forget “what the old folks say.” Most of us probably now realize that our ancestors did indeed have it right! Their common-sense ways allowed them to get through the worst of conditions throughout history and still we thrive from their bold undertakings.
Henry Louis Gates
The thing about black history is that the truth is so much more complex than anything you could make up.