Categories: BrainHeartSoul

57 Quotes About Change by Historic Black Leaders Still Relevant Today

Before we jump into these quotes, we’ll address the most important thing…

….which is what we can do ourselves to be anti-racist.

The first step, I think, is education (especially for white people like myself). We can’t amend our beliefs or actions or call others out if we don’t have the knowledge to. Here is a very helpful Anti-Racism Resource List.

One thing I’ve found myself discussing with family is how racism isn’t always overt. We have unconscious bias that may be driving our actions in less obvious ways. A small example I’ve given of my own actions is realizing who I follow on social media. Even though it’s not my intention, it’s still my responsibility to ask myself why and how I can fix it.

Secondly, Black Lives Matter has created a page of ways to donate. There’s links to funds for victims, protestor bail funds, Black-owned businesses and more. You can also donate to Black Lives Matter Canada.

There’s also ways to donate WITHOUT MONEY.

These include YouTube videos or live streams that donate all ad revenue to Black Lives Matter funds. The few I was watching have been taken down. So rather than directly linking them, you can find current ones by Googling “donation streams Black lives matter” or “donation video Black lives matter.” (Stream from trusted sources to make sure they’ll actually donate the money.)

Thirdly, Black Lives Matter has a page of petitions you can sign to demand change. Even if you live outside the U.S., you can sign using their sample U.S. zip codes.

Finally, anti-racism isn’t a trending topic. It’s an ongoing process that’s our responsibility to partake in, even after the headlines stop.

For myself, although I’ve always cared about equality, I know I haven’t done enough and this has made me pay more attention. It’s made me educate myself more, question my unconscious biases, tweet in rage, donate and have more tough conversations with family members—over and over.

For any type of change to happen though, all of my actions need to become a habit. I know that I’ll make mistakes and be called out. And I’ll call others out too. It will be uncomfortable. But that’s ok because I will learn and I will do better. I will do my part and encourage others to do theirs.

57 Quotes About Change by Historic Black Leaders

One major thing that stuck out to me about these quotes is how relevant they are today. When these wise leaders speak about racism and harmful systems, the words are still applicable today, decades and even a century later.

Although as a society we’ve made some changes since then, it’s not enough and it was never enough. We have to do better. A lot better. And we have to accelerate the pace in which changes are made.

This is our responsibility—at personal, professional and government levels—indefinitely.

“It is better to teach or live equality and love…than to have hatred and prejudice.”

-Rosa Parks

“Opportunity is important but exertion is indispensable.”

-Frederick Douglass

“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

“Usually, when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”

-Malcolm X

“My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn’t always discuss for reasons of political expediency.”

-Shirley Chisholm

“Intelligence is a great leveler here as elsewhere.”

-Frederick Douglass

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”

“Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“We are wasting and degrading human life by clinging to archaic thinking.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.”

-Malcolm X

“For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“Political organizations are formed to keep the powerful in power. Their first rule is “don’t rock the boat.” If someone makes trouble and you can get him, do it. If you can’t get him, bring him in.”

-Shirley Chisholm

“If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success.”

-Malcolm X

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

-Maya Angelou

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

-Maya Angelou

“We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.”

-Malcolm X

“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”

-Rosa Parks

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.”

-Shirley Chisholm

“Civil war was not a mere strife for territory and dominion, but a contest of civilization against barbarism.”

-Frederick Douglass

“I have made some good enemies for which I am not a bit sorry. I have loved unselfishly, and I have fondled hatred with the red-hot tongs of Hell. That’s living.”

-Zora Neale Hurston

“As far back as I can remember, I knew there was something wrong with our way of life when people could be mistreated because of the color of their skin.”

-Rosa Parks

“You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.”

-Malcolm X

“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.”

-Shirley Chisholm

“God’s time is always near. He set the North Star in the heavens; He gave me the strength in my limbs; He meant I should be free.”

-Harriet Tubman

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“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

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

-Malcolm X

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free … so other people would be also free.”

-Rosa Parks

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically … No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

-Rosa Parks

“If I can help to bring about the change and move in that direction, I will have made my contribution.”

-Shirley Chisholm

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

-Zora Neale Hurston

“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”

-Rosa Parks

“Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread, and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.”

-Shirley Chisholm

“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…”

-Harriet Tubman

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

-Malcolm X

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

-Shirley Chisholm

“All of our experiences fuse into our personality. Everything that ever happened to us is an ingredient.”

-Malcolm X

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

-Maya Angelou

“The next time a woman of whatever color, or a dark-skinned person of whatever sex aspires to be president, the way should be a little smoother because I helped pave it.”

-Shirley Chisholm

“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot — it’s all there. Everything influences each of us.”

-Maya Angelou

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

-Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

-Maya Angelou

“If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”

Rosa Parks

“You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get your freedom; then you’ll get it. It’s the only way you’ll get it.”

-Malcolm X

“I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.”

-Maya Angelou

“One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

-Maya Angelou

“I’m speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.”

Malcolm X

“Stand for something or you will fall for anything.”

-Rosa Parks

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

-Maya Angelou

“I have heard their groans and sighs, and seen their tears, and I would give every drop of blood in my veins to free them.”

-Harriet Tubman

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”

-Rosa Parks

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”

-Maya Angelou

YoHumanz

YoHumanz is a blog dedicated to helpful and inspirational content about being human today—written in a non-bullshitty, (hopefully) more approachable way. We focus on 3 main areas: Heart, Brain and Soul.

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