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27 Amazingly Powerful Quotes From Black Writers

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Happy Black History Month! In honor of this great month, here are 27 amazingly powerful quotes from eloquent black writers:

"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 (No Longer at Ease)


malcolm x


"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom." -Malcolm X (Speech, Prospects for Freedom)


"these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips" -Lucille Clifton (homage to my hips)



"Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor." -James Baldwin (Fifth Avenue, Uptown. Esquire)


zadie smith


"But surely to tell these tall tales and others like them would be to spread the myth, the wicked lie, that the past is always tense and the future, perfect." -Zadie Smith (White Teeth)


"Misery won't touch you gentle. It always leaves its thumbprints on you; sometimes it leaves them for others to see, sometimes for nobody but you to know of." -Edwidge Danticat (The Farming of Bones)


"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." -Frederick Douglass (Speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of emancipation in Washington. D.C.)


"To know how much there is to know is the beginning of learning to live." -Dorothy West (The Richer, the Poorer)


ralph ellison author


"I am an invisible man...I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." -Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man)


"For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness." -James Baldwin (Sonny's Blues)


"As long as we are not ourselves, we will try to be what other people are." -Malidoma Patrice Somé (Of Water and the Spirit)


"Healing begins where the wound was made." -Alice Walker (The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart)


web du bois


"Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor—all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked—who is good? Not that men are ignorant—what is truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men." -W.E.B. Du Bois (The Souls of Black Folk)


"When you know your name, you should hang on to it, for unless it is noted down and remembered, it will die when you do." -Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)


"The writer cannot expect to be excused from the task of reeducation and regeneration that must be done. In fact, he should march right in front." -Chinua Achebe (The Novelist as Teacher, New Statesman)


maya angelou


"If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities." -Maya Angelou (The Heart of a Woman)


"It is the duty of the younger Negro artist...to change through the force of his art that old whispering 'I want to be white,' hidden in the aspirations of his people, to 'Why should I be white? I am a Negro—and beautiful!'" -Langston Hughes (The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, The Nation)


"We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings...In fact, we are actually fighting for rights that are even greater than civil rights and that is human rights." -Malcolm X (Black Revolution)


"Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down." -Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)


"Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced." -James Baldwin (As Much Truth As One Can Bear, New York Times)


toni morrison


"Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge." -Toni Morrison (Nobel lecture, 1993)


'Many and most moments go by with us hardly aware of their passage. But love and hate and fear cause time to snag you, to drag you down like a spider's web holding fast to a doomed fly's wings." -Walter Mosley (When the Thrill Is Gone)


"Miracles happen all the time.
We're here, aren't we?"
-Marilyn Nelson (Abba Jacob and Miracles)



"The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free." -Zadie Smith (On Beauty)


james baldwin author


"Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." -James Baldwin (No Name in the Street)


"Nobody's as powerful as we make them out to be." -Alice Walker (The Third Life of Grange Copeland)


"Men simply copied the realities of their hearts when they built prison. They simply extended into objective reality what was already a subjective reality. Only jailers really believe in jails." -Richard Wright (The Outsider)

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