12 Timeless Quotes by Influential Black Authors

In honor of Black History Month, we’re revisiting some of our favorite quotes by Black authors. Some, if not all these authors, you will recognize!

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Portrait of Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou

Whether they were assigned reading in high school or part of your TBR list now, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the work from these black authors. In addition to being brilliant writers, many of these authors drew their inspiration from their work outside of writing; Zora Neale Hurston, for example, was also a filmmaker, while Maya Angelou was a renowned civil rights activist. And while their writing will always remain timeless, we’re celebrating some of our favorite quotes from these authors for Black History Month. 

On Power, Strength, and Moving Forward

“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

“Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

“Nobody’s as powerful as we make them out to be.”

Alice Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland
Black author and activist Malcolm X-- black authors
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“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

On Inspiration

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”

Maya Angelou, The Heart of a Woman

“The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.”

Zadie Smith, On Beauty

“Truth does not change, only our awareness of it.”

Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X 
Black author Roxane Gay
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“I am stronger than I am broken.”  

Roxane Gay, Hunger

On Empowerment and Achievement

“You don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking.”  

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Toni Morrison

“Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”  

Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes

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

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Looking for more Black authors to read? Click here.