150 Empowering and Inspiring Quotes by Black Women Throughout History

I have curated inspirational black women quotes from authors, actresses, activists, and more. 

There is nothing like the power of a black woman.

In the comment section below, let us know which resonated most with you.

A black woman’s wisdom is endless.

These quotes come from a population that others have tried to silence for too long.

They will help you better understand and value people who might differ from you.

We hope to inspire you during your day, whether you are powering through a workday or enjoying a much-needed self-care day. 

Whether you scribble your favorite quote in your journal or repost the quote on Instagram, be sure to record your favorites for any time you need a pick-me-up. 

Black women are a powerful force in society.

They have faced discrimination and oppression throughout history, yet they have persisted and continue to thrive.

Black women have made significant contributions to our world, from activists and entrepreneurs to artists and politicians.

We must continue to uplift and celebrate black women because they are an essential part of our society and have much to offer.

Check out the quotes below to learn from the minds of amazing black women. 

1. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker

2. “If you don’t define yourself for yourself, I will define you.” — Audre Lorde

3. “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” – Audre Lorde

4. “Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” — Madam C.J. Walker

5. “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — Angela Davis

6. “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

7. “I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.” — Serena Williams

8. “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” – Toni Morrison

9. “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – Rosa Parks

10. “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

Inspiring Black Women Quotes

11. “I see other black women imitate my style, which is no style at all, but just letting our hair be itself. They call it the Afro Look.” — Miriam Makeba

12. “I write to tell the truth about the black condition as I see it. Therefore, I write to offer a black woman’s view of the world.” — Sonia Sanchez

13. “Black skin was filled with so many barriers, so many restrictions, so many.” – Randi Pink

14. “Black women are going to have to take more leadership. We do not fear losing friends, allies, or jobs.” — Maxine Waters

15. “I always knew I’d be a millionaire by age thirty-two. In fact, I am going to be the richest black woman in America.” — Oprah Winfrey

16. “Being the person I am, you know, the size I am, being a woman, being a black woman, there’s not a lot of roles for us.” — Amber Riley

17. “I was blessed to get an education available to few black women in Africa at that time. Every woman should be able to get an education so she can serve others.” — Julia Mavimbela

18. “If, with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels can’t get justice… for this community, you tell me where you’re going to get it in our country.” — Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

19. “It’s really not enough to just have black women. A really good idea could be to comment on how they are treated by society.” — Lea DeLaria

20. “Black women have always been friends. If you didn’t have each other you had nothing.” — Toni Morrison

Powerful Quotes About Black Women’s Resilience

21. “The greatness of black women lies in their ability to survive and still stand tall.” — Maya Angelou

22. “No woman on this whole earth can please me and cook for me and socialize and talk to me like my American black woman.” — Muhammad Ali

23. “Black women, you are the unsung heroes of our society.” — Ava DuVernay

24. “Black women are the heart and soul of the civil rights movement.” — John Lewis

25. “Black women are the backbone of the feminist movement.” — Bell Hooks

26. “Back home the black women are all beautiful.” — Amiri Baraka

27. “Black women have always been the gatekeepers of our communities.” — Kimberlé Crenshaw

28. “Black women are the touchstone by which all that is human can be measured.” – Toni Morrison

29. “Black women are the backbone of our communities, the strength of our families, and the architects of our future.” — Angela Davis

30. “Black women are the epitome of strength, resilience, and grace.” — Taraji P. Henson

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Black Women Quotes Celebrating Resilience and Grace

31. “Black women are the architects of tomorrow, building a world of equity and justice.” — Kimberlé Crenshaw

32. “Black women, you are the trailblazers, lighting the path for generations to come.” — Tarana Burke

33. “The world is a garden, and Black women are the vibrant flowers that bloom despite adversity.” — Lupita Nyong’o

34. “Black women are the driving force behind the movement for justice and equality.” — Shirley Chisholm

35. “Black women are like diamonds – strong, unbreakable, and radiant.” — Tarana Burke

36. “The world is a better place because of the wisdom and strength of Black women.” — Michelle Obama

37. “Black women are the keepers of our culture, the torchbearers of our legacy.” — Angela Davis

38. “Black women bring a magic to this world that is unmatched.” — Lupita Nyong’o

39. “Black women have carried the torch of progress throughout history, lighting the way for all of us.” — Maya Angelou

40. “The power of a Black woman is like the sun, you can’t always see it, but you know it’s always there.” — Janelle Monáe

On Self-Love and Empowerment

41. “Financial independence gives us the power to decide our futures and liberate our conception of what’s possible.” — Stacey Abrams

42. “I am a strong woman with or without this other person, with or without this job, and with or without these tight pants.” — Queen Latifah

43. “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” —Dr. Mae Jemison

44. “I’m still trying to do films about black women.” — Pam Grier

45. “Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only you give it power.” — Oprah Winfrey

46. “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect, and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” – Nikki Giovanni

47. “Beauty is not just a white girl. It’s so many different flavors and shades.” – Queen Latifah

48. “I don’t drink or do any drugs. I’m a black woman from the land of the free, home of the brave.” — Bertice Berry

49. “My identity is very clear to me now, I am a black woman.” – Lena Horne

50. “There is nothing like the power of a black woman.”

Wise Words on Life and Success

51. “Life is short, and it’s up to you to make it sweet.” – Sadie Delany

52. “Once we recognize what it is we are feeling, once we recognize we can feel deeply, love deeply, can feel joy, then we will demand that all parts of our lives produce that kind of joy.” – Audre Lorde

53. “Just be honest and true to yourself. If your friends around you love you, they’ll wish you the best.” – Meagan Good

54. “You can fall, but you can rise also.” – Angelique Kidjo

55. “I decided blacks should not have to experience the difficulties I had faced, so I decided to teach other black women to fly.” — Bessie Coleman

56. “It’s time for you to move, realizing that the thing you are seeking is also seeking you.” — Iyanla Vanzant

57. “I write because I am a Black woman, listening attentively to her people.” — Maya Angelou

58. “My mission in life is to thrive; and to do so with passion, compassion, humor, and style.” —Maya Angelou

59. “When we’re talking about diversity, it’s a reality that should be deeply felt and valued by all.” — Ava DuVernay

60. “You wanna know what scares people? Success. When you don’t make moves and when you don’t climb up the ladder, everybody loves you because you’re not competition.” – Nicki Minaj

Uplifting Quotes for Black Women

61. “If you prioritize yourself, you are going to save yourself.” – Gabrielle Union

62. “Don’t try to lessen yourself for the world; let the world catch up to you.” — Beyoncé Knowles

63. “A true diva is graceful, talented, strong, fearless, brave and someone with humility.” — Beyoncé Knowles

64. “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” — Shirley Chisholm

65. “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey

66. “Never ever let somebody stop you or shame you from being yourself.” — Lizzo

67. “Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.” – Marian Wright Edelman

68. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” — Maya Angelou

69. “Keep going and keep speaking up, even if your voice shakes.” — Allyson Felix

70. “I used to joke for years that I was a black man. I married a black woman, and I had black kids.” — Tommy Chong

Black Queen Quotes

71. “There’s always something to suggest that you’ll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to keep on moving.” — Phylicia Rashad

72. “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, you can’t go wrong.” — Ella Fitzgerald

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73. “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than the hated.” – Coretta Scott King

74. “Am I bossy? Absolutely. I don’t like to lose, and if I’m told ‘no,’ then I find another way to get my ‘yes.'” – Naomi Campbell

75. “The kind of beauty I want most is strength, courage, dignity that comes from within.” — Ruby Dee

76. “I am the essence of magic, its mysteriousness, its beauty and its ability to make things happen!” – Jenaitre Farquharson

77. “We believe in equality for all, because we are an inclusive party. Let everybody come.” – Barbara Jordan

78. “Black women have not historically stood in the pulpit, but they built the churches and maintain the pulpits.” — Maya Angelou

79. “If you don’t understand yourself you don’t understand anybody else.” — Nikki Giovanni

80. “I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart.” —Beyoncé

Empowering Beyoncé Quotes

81. “Power is not given to you. You have to take it.” — Beyoncé Knowles

82. “I embrace mistakes. They make you who you are.” — Beyoncé Knowles

83. “Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.” — Beyoncé Knowles

84. “Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.” — Beyoncé Knowles

85. “When I’m not feeling my best I ask myself, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I fuel the transformation into a better me.” — Beyoncé Knowles

More Quotes by Iconic Black Women

86. “I cannot wait to be that age when I wake up and decide what I want to do that day.” — Iman

87. “Courage: the most important of all the virtues.” — Maya Angelou

88. “Black women are superior in all aspects, bar none.” — John Henrik Clarke

89. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou

90. “I am convinced that we Black women possess an indestructible strength.” — Janet Jackson

Breaking Barriers: Black Women Paving the Way

91. “I wanna show that a woman can be a different shape and be sexy.” — Lizzo

92. “Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own.” — Dr. Mae Jemison

93. “You can’t be hesitant about who you are.” – Viola Davis

94. “There’s so much creativity in brokeness. Brokeness will have you making it work.” — Issa Rae

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

96. “I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” – Simone Biles

97. “There have been so many who have said to me, ‘You can’t do that,’ but I’ve had an innate belief they were wrong.” – Halle Berry

98. “I wish I could be the black woman Soderbergh, and put the camera on my shoulder and direct beautifully.” — Ava DuVernay

99. “Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour until you reach your goal.” — Ava DuVernay

100. “You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.” – Nina Simone

Overcoming Adversity: Resilient Black Women

101. “I am tired of the naked, raped, beaten black woman body. I want an image of black femaleness that alters our universe.” — Bell Hooks

102. “Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is proof.” – Alice Walker

103. “I have fought, kicked, fasted, prayed, cursed and cried myself to existing.” — Alice Walker

104. “I saw that the doors of opportunity for black women were more open than ever before, but that black women had to make their own path.” – Madam C.J. Walker

105. “In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.” – Alice Walker

106. “The world is changing. It is no longer a world just for boys and men” — Alice Walker

107. “I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow; if I fail, if I succeed, at least I’ll live as I believe.” – Whitney Houston

108. “As a black woman, the decision to love yourself just as you are is a radical act. And I’m as radical as they come.” – Bethanee Epifani J. Bryant

109. “If women want any rights more than they’ve got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.” — Sojourner Truth

110. “Black skin was still an arduous reality, one that rendered any embrace of deeper self-love a radically defiant gesture.” – Austin Channing Brown

Thought-Provoking Quotes About Black Womanhood

111. “We must always attempt to lift as we climb.” – Angela Davis

112. “This black woman rocks on a phenomenal level!” – Stephanie Lahart

113. “The collective, orchestrated fury of Black women can move the whole world.” ― Brittney Cooper

114. “When you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, you will never be alone.” – Coretta Scott King

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115. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou

116. “When we’re talking about diversity, it’s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us.”— Ava DuVernay

117. “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” — Ella Fitzgerald

118. “Black women sharing close ties with each other, politically or emotionally, are not the enemies of Black men.” — Audre Lorde

119. “I am a black woman poet and I sound like one.” — Lucille Clifton

120. “To turn black women into objectified others was to underline their difference; they may be beautiful, but they are of another kind, separate from the dominant understanding of attractiveness.” – Anne Helen Petersen

More Inspirational Black Women Quotes

121. “I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud to be a black woman, and I’m proud to be gay.” — Wanda Sykes

122. “She said black women are so special. Few men of any color and even fewer white women can deal with how fabulous we are.” – Maya Angelou

123. “Surely, there’s strength in being dressed for a storm, even when there’s no storm in sight?” – Yaa Gyasi

124. “You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream. You’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.” — Diana Ross

125. “America made us heroines not wives. We hid our ladyness to save our lives.” – Lucille Clifton

126. “Rare is the ministry praying that they would be worthy of the giftedness of Black minds and hearts.” – Austin Channing Brown

127. “And anything I have accomplished, I did so not in spite of being a black woman, but because I am a black woman.” – Gabrielle Union

128. “We believe in equality for all, and privileges for none. This is a belief that each American regardless of background has equal standing in the public forum, all of us. Because we believe this idea so firmly, we are an inclusive, rather than an exclusive party. Let everybody come.” – Barbara Jordan

129. “I am the essence of magic, its mysteriousness, its beauty and its ability to make things happen when people couldn’t see how!” – Jenaitre Farquharson

130. “It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.” —Lena Horne

Powerful Black Women Quotes

131. “We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” — Michelle Obama

132. “When the heart is right, the mind and body will follow.” – Coretta Scott King

133. “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” — Coretta Scott King

134. “Perseverance is my motto.” – Madam C.J. Walker

135. “The world is a richer place because of the creativity and brilliance of Black women.” ― Ava DuVernay

136. “No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” – Althea Gibson

137. “For I am my mother’s daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart.” —Mary McLeod Bethune

138. “We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” – Angela Davis

139. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.” – Maya Angelou

140. “Beauty is not just a white girl. It’s so many different flavors and shades.” – Queen Latifah

Strong Independent Black Woman Quotes

141. “You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.” –Marian Wright Edelman

142. “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.” – Marian Wright Edelman

143. “The most significant successes come from letting your light shine, embracing failure, and getting good at being wrong.” – Stacey Abrams

144. “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” – Angela Davis

145. “A great figure or physique is nice, but it’s self-confidence that makes someone really sexy.” – Vivica A. Fox

Motivational Black Women Quotes To Overcome Fear

146. “The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.” ― Ruby Dee

147. “Always be smarter than the people who hire you.” ― Lena Horne

148. “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

149. “People think about the word ‘fearless’ to mean without fear. I see it to actually mean ‘with fear but you do it anyway’.” ― Luvvie Ajayi Jones

150. “Don’t spend all of your time trying to be like someone else because you can never be them and they can never be you.” ― Raven Symone

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  1. Jannett White

    September 10, 2021 at 7:55 PM

    I actually began Reading 2 hours ago..and OML inspired by every quip and quote..sooo many favorites..one of tthe shortest..but most powerful..”Design the life you want to live”..Rachel Roy….eventhough God predestined oour lives.before the foundation of the world..it is a joy to embrace the knowledge of “Specialty Designed”…love them All..will definitely Share and utilize..THANK ALL OF THE CONTRIBUTORS..

  2. Jazz Caldwell

    July 9, 2020 at 2:15 AM

    I just love these and will be using them – credited of course – on my website AND Instagram. Thank you so much for these powerful messages.

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