Every day I live I am more convinced that the waste of life lies in the love we have not given, the powers we have not used, the selfish prudence that will risk nothing and which, shirking pain, misses happiness as well.Mary Cholmondeley
An African American (also Afro-American) is a person in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Iif there ever was a monolithic ‘black America’—absolutely and uniformly deprived and aggrieved, with invariant values and attitudes—there certainly isn’t one now.
- I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.
- Muhammad Ali, The Greatest
- The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is respect as human beings, the God-given right to be a human being. Our common goal is to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans.
- Malcom X, "Racism: the Cancer that is Destroying America", in Egyptian Gazette
- If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything . . . that smacks of discrimination or slander.
- Mary McLeod Bethune, "Certain Unalienable Rights", What the Negro Wants, edited by Rayford W. Logan
- My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?
- Paul Robeson, testimony on June 12. 1956 before the House Un-American Activities Committee
- The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image.
- Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition
- 'We, the people.' It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document [the Preamble to the US Constitution] was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787 I was not included in that "We, the people." I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in 'We, the people.'
- Barbara Jordan, Statement made on July 25, 1974 before the House Committee on the Judiciary
- It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others. . . . One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warrings ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
- W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk
- We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.
- James Weldon Johnson, "Lift Every Voice and Sing"
- Freedom is never given; it is won.
- A. Phillip Randolph, Keynote speech given in 1937 at the Second National Negro Congress
- Never that! In this white man's world. They can't stop us, we been here all this time, they ain't took us out... They can never take us out! No matter what they say! About us being extinct, about us being.. Endangered species, we ain't neva gonn' leave this! We ain't never gonna walk off this planet.. Unless you choose to! Use your brains! Use your brains! It ain't them thats killing us, it's us that's killing us... It ain't them that's not gonna solve, It's us thats not gonna solve, I'm tellin you, you better watch it or be a victim... Be a victim in this white manz world.
- Tupac Amaru Shakur "White Manz World."
- If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, 'There lived a great people—a black people—who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.'
- Tears will get you sympathy. Sweat will get you change.
- We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.
- Carter Woodson, On founding Negro History Week, 1926