Black and African-American Quotes

Because here’s the thing -- the road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away.

First Lady Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama on the trials of being black

Source: White House, 2015

I was in Tucson, at a writer's conference, and I challenged my host to pull out his dictionary and look up the words "white" and "black." And he looked up the word white, and he came up with things like white, unmarked by malignant influence, of desirable condition, a sterling man, a bright, fair and honest. Then you look up the word black, and you get a villain, marked by malignant influence, unqualified, violator of laws, etc. And these are actual definitions in a Webster's dictionary. So this is a part of the linguistic environment, so that when white America looks at a black, they see the opposite of everything that they are.

August Wilson

I think that one is not burdened by America's terrible racial history, and I think when people say to me, 'You're different. You're not angry,' in some ways it also feels that I'm being made complicit for something that I don't want to be complicit in. Because in some ways they're saying, 'You're one of the good ones.' And I think to say that is to somehow ignore the reality of American history. So for example, people will say, 'Oh, you're so easy to get along with.' And they'll tell me some story of some African-American woman they knew who just wasn't like me. Which I find quite absurd.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

First off, I’d like to thank God that lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South side of Chicago, dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope. Welded with compassion. And elevated by love for all human beings.

Common

I’m going to speak to you about love and the courage to love, indeed, about courage itself. It is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you cannot be sure that you can practice any other virtue with consistency. So it is important to develop courage, the courage to love in an era, in a time, when love is almost synonymous with distrust, abuse, misuse and, in fact, negligence. In order to love, I mean erotic love, agape love, familial love, platonic love, consistently, you must care first about yourselves because in order to say one loves someone else and act upon that love, one must really love one’s self.

Maya Angelou