30 Quotes From Powerful Leaders To Celebrate Black History Month

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”

By Rachel Mulcahy

February marks Black History Month, which is a time to commemorate and reflect on remarkable African American trailblazers who have left enduring legacies by igniting a desire for hope and change. In honor of Black History Month, we’ve gathered the most inspiring quotes from powerful Black leaders including Toni Morrison, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King, Jr. These leaders have shared thought-provoking ideas that have forever impacted us and continue to encourage us. May these wise words about dreams, humanity, and freedom inspire you, influence you, and challenge you.

Inspirational Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

“Character is power.” – Booker T. Washington

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

“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

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

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

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

“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

Quotes About Dreams

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

“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

“Have a vision. Be demanding.” – Colin Powell

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

“There are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.” – Rita Dove

“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

“What’s the world for if you can’t make it up the way you want it?” – Toni Morrison

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

“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

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

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