In honor of Black History Month, we've compiled 28 quotes from inspirational Black women throughout history. Here you'll be inspired. You'll be motivated. And you'll see how Black women have done so much for not only our communities, but also our country, and our world. Savor each word, and find your inspiration amongst these wise, wise words.
- “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, American abolitionist and political activist
- "Don't wait until you've reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal."
—Simone Biles, American artistic gymnast
- "Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable. I didn't have to become perfect because I've learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness."
—Janelle Monae, American singer, rapper, and actress
- "I realized that I don't have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life."
—Kerry Washington, American actress, producer, and director
- “No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.”
—Althea Gibson, American tennis player
- "I have standards I don't plan on lowering for anybody … including myself."
—Zendaya, American actress
- "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, Civil Rights Activist
- “Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change.”
—Iyanla Vanzant, American Inspirational Speaker
- "Don't settle for average. Bring your best to the moment. Then, whether it fails or succeeds, at least you know you gave all you had. We need to live the best that's in us."
—Angela Bassett, Actress
- “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.”
—Coretta Scott King, Civil Rights Activist
- “When I dare to be powerful — to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
—Audre Lorde, American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist
- “I did what my conscience told me to do, and you can’t fail if you do that.”
—Anita Hill, American lawyer
- “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”
—Oprah Winfrey, Talk-show Host; Broadcasting Mogul; First African American woman to become a billionaire
- “When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don't speak out ain't nobody going to speak out for you.”
—Fannie Lou Hamer, American civil rights activist
- "Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."
—Zora Neale Hurston, American author
- “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”
—Mary McLeod Bethune, American Educator
- “Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.”
—Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund
- “I get angry about things, then go on and work.”
—Toni Morrison, Author
- “It was when I realized I needed to stop trying to be somebody else and be myself, I actually started to own, accept and love what I had.”
—Tracee Ellis Ross, Actress
- “It is so liberating to really know what I want, what truly makes me happy, what I will not tolerate. I have learned that it is no one else's job to take care of me but me."
—Beyonce Knowles, American singer-songwriter
- "You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”
—Shirley Chisolm, Politician; First African American woman nominated for President
- “I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don’t mind the failure, but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.”
—Nikki Giovanni, American poet, writer and activist
- “Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
—Madam C.J. Walker, Entrepreneur
- “It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.”
—Lena Horne, American dancer
- "Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change."
—Shonda Rhimes, Writer and Producer
- “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives."
—Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of The United States
- "When you put love out in the world it travels, and it can touch people and reach people in ways that we never even expected."
—Laverne Cox, Actress
- “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
—Maya Angelou, Author; Poet; Actor; Teacher