Quotes By Blacks
Contemporary Quotations In Black – compiled by Anita King
Hank Aaron, ballplayer
Special Report: Sports (August-October 1990)
I don’t cater to black racism any more than I do white.
Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookie Corp.
Parade Magazine (May 22, 1994)
There are two reasons why people fail. One is irresponsibility. The second is fear.
Tom Bradley, elected first black mayor of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Times (January 19, 1992)
It pains me to talk to a youngster who has never finished a book.
Drew T. Brown, son of Muhammad Ali’s trainer
You Gotta Believe! (1991)
I come from the ghetto, the projects of Harlem in New York City. Now I don’t know about you, but if you think you got it bad in your area, let me tell you the rats in my school were so big, the cats carried assault weapons.
James Brown, The Godfather of Soul
Los Angeles Time (February 9, 1989)
Taking James Brown out of the music business is like taking Moses out of the Bible and saying it was a complete book.
Octavia Butler, science-fiction author
Essence (May 1989)
Ignorance is expensive.
Marva Collins, founder of Westside Preparatory School & National Teacher Training Institute in Chicago.
Her address at Calvin College (January 1990)
We can pay teachers to teacher, but how much do you pay a teacher to care?
Bill Cosby, entertainer
You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who’ve never had any.
Marian Wright Edleman, Founder Children’s Defense Fund
Ebony (November 1995)
While I never want to return to the old days of segregation…I do want to return to the old spiritual roots, family, and community bonds.
I Dream A World
If one were to take a map of Mississippi and then take a list of people who were killed, beaten, lynched, raped, and who lost home during the fifties and sixties and placed red pins for each incident, the state would be a red mass of suffering and pain.
George Foreman, boxer
By George (1995)
Life is like boxing. You’ve only got so many punches to throw, and you can only take so many.
Morgan Freeman, actor
About…Time (February 1995)
I’m a Southerner. I was shaped and molded by the south, and I never got Northernized. I realized I was a Southerner because every time I went back home I’d slip into it comfortably. I like it there. It’s home.
Berry Gordy, Jr., Motown Records
Playboy (August 1995)
The first song I tried to sell was a song I wrote for Doris Day, a white-sounding song for a white girl. So I sold out my white roots when I changed to black music.
Louis Gossett, Jr., actor
GQ: Gentleman’s Quarterly (December 1988)
There’s something spiritual in the whole process of fruit growing, something close to nature, something about God. I don’t care how many Oscars or Emmys or prized you’ve won or how much money you have, you live with trees and I promise it will help you keep your feet on the ground.
Lena Horne, entertainer
USA Today (May 20, 1994)
People were rapping in my grandfather’s day. They called it signifying.
Janet Jackson, entertainer
Ebony (September 1993)
A lot of people harp on “this is what they did to us” and “they did that to us” talking about the white man. Okay, fine. We know everything that has happened to us. Now it is time to move on.
Mae C. Jemison, first black astronaut
New York Times (September 13, 1992)
It’s important not only for a little black girl growing up to know, yes, you can become an astronaut because there’s Mae Jemison. But it’s important for older white males who sometimes make decisions on those careers of those little black girls.
James Earl Jones, actor
Los Angeles Times (September 1, 1990)
If you feed on bitterness you can nitpick all the way to your death.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic athlete
Jet (July 10, 1989)
I always say to myself, “I will never forget what it took to get where I am. I see the struggle. I see the hard times. I would not abuse it by getting big-headed and cocky.” I always beleive God give sit to you and God will take it away if He sees you cannot handle it.
Andrew Dewey Kirk, Mighty Clouds of Joy gospel group
Twenty Years on Wheels (1089)
The word “black” as it’s used now…came into fashion with the militants-Black Power-Black is beautiful-the African heritage. I don’t like the word. There are so many different shades. I’m not black.
Colin Powell, retired military
Los Angeles Times (October 9, 1995)
The one thing none of us can escape, whether we are on the right, left, middle, top or bottom, black, white, brown, green, or yellow, is that we are all living in this country together…We are blessed with each other-stuck with each other. We had better figure out how to get along with each other.
My American Journey (1995)
Get mad. Then get over it.
O.J. Simpson, football player
I Want To Tell You (1995)
I knew there were white people who would always see me as black, and black people who would see mw as not black enough. I decided to do what O wanted to do and not let other people define my life. I would not do my best with my abilities and never allow my race to be used as a weapon against me.
Ben Vereen, entertainer
New York Newsday (June 27, 1993)
If you wallow in the past, you’ll stay there.