50 Inspirational Quotes From Black Leaders To Help You Keep Going

Feel inspired by these quotes from Black leaders. 

We have a unique selection of Black leader quotes to give you strength and motivation to keep going. 

What are famous Black quotes?

Blackness is not a monolith, meaning there is no one way to be Black. 

Our quotes from Black leaders demonstrate the diversity of the black community. 

Check out the way Black leaders have impacted the world:

  • Kamala Harris is the first woman Vice President. 
  • Rosalind Brewer is the only Black woman leading a fortune 500 firm. 
  • Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is the lead scientist on Moderna’s Covid 19 vaccine team. 

Antiquity is full of black leaders who transformed and modernized the world. 

Imhotep was a brilliant African engineer in ancient Egypt who designed pyramids and associated the pulse with the heartbeat. 

Dr. George Washington Carver changed the world with the peanut. 

Antonio Maceo Grajales was a military genius. 

However, Black leaders continue to impact and help shape our world. 

One of the challenges that we face is the obscuring of Black genius. 

People may be familiar with brilliant historical titans such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, or Nelson Mandela

These individuals excelled to the highest levels of excellence despite minimal conditions and heavy opposition.

Yet, in a world where information is at our fingertips, the accomplishments of living Black leaders are not as well known. 

Black leaders excelling 

For example, how many are familiar with Victor Glover, the first Black astronaut to work on the International Space Station for an extended time?

Or what about the poet Amanda Gorman, who recently became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history?

Check out our exceptional black leader’s quotes below. 

Short quotes from black leaders

These quotes are fast but powerful. 

1. “Character is power.” Booker T. Washington

2. “Have a vision. Be demanding.” Colin Powell

3. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” — Harriet Tubman

4. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” — Frederick Douglass

5. “The harder you work, the luckier you get.’’ — Mike Adenuga

6. “The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

7. “The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” W.E.B. Du Bois

8. “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Jackie Robinson

9. “All business is personal. Make your friends before you need them.” — Robert L. Johnson

10. “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” Desmond Tutu

Strong black leader quotes

These quotes come from people who demonstrated strength at the highest levels. 

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11. “History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.” Michelle Obama

12. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela

13. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” Malcolm X

14. “Freedom is never given; it is won.” — A. Philip Randolph

15. “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

16. “We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be a country that is bruised but whole. Benevolent but bold. Fierce and free.” Amanda Gorman

17. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”Barack Obama

18. “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” Thurgood Marshall

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

20. “Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” — Carol Moseley-Braun

Leadership quotes from black leaders

This collection highlights leadership. 

21. “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” — Booker T. Washington

22. “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.” — Wilma Rudolph

23. “If you’re a competitive person, that stays with you. You don’t stop. You always look over your shoulder.” Magic Johnson

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

25. “No action is too small when it comes to changing the world. I’m inspired every time I meet an entrepreneur who is succeeding against all odds.” — Cyril Ramaphosa

26. “If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems.” — Majora Carter

27. “The impatient idealist says: ‘Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the earth.’ But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace.” — Chinua Achebe

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28. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

29. “It isn’t where you come from; it’s where you’re going that counts.” — Ella Fitzgerald

30. “I don’t have a feeling of inferiority. Never had. I’m as good as anybody, but no better.”Katherine Johnson

Quotes from black leaders to inspire and motivate

Leadership can take many forms, and these quotes highlight diversity in leadership. 

31. “Have a vision. Be demanding.” — Colin Powell

32. “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” Langston Hughes

33. “There are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.” — Rita Dove

34. “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

35. “What’s the world for if you can’t make it up the way you want it?” Toni Morrison

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

37. “Success depends on employees. For me knowing and connecting with my employees is very important.” — Divine Ndhlukula

38. “The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself—the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us—that’s where it’s at.” Jesse Owens

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

Quotes from black leaders on education

Education is integral to our success. 

40. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Barack Obama

41. “Hold on to your dreams of a better life and stay committed to striving to realize it.” — Earl G. Graves, Sr.

42. “You can only become accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” — Maya Angelou

43. “I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go if you really want to go.” — Langston Hughes

44. “Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” — Susan L. Taylor

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45. “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” — Booker T. Washington

Quotes about the importance of dreaming and education

46. “Even in dark times, we not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless, and ambitious. We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration.” — Kamala Harris

47. “If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you’re going to get, you become a more successful person. In other words, if you want to make money, you have to help someone else make money.” — Russell Simmons

48. “I always wanted to be somebody. If I made it, it’s half because I was game enough to take a lot of punishment along the way and half because there were a lot of people who cared enough to help me.” — Althea Gibson

49. “Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.” — Kenneth Chenault

50. “Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.” — Marva Collins

Black excellence inspires

Leadership can take many forms. 

Some people lead by example, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Despite the violence, death threats, and various forms of systematic aggression, Dr. King never broke his commitment to non-violence. 

He is a testament to the power of empathy and resilience. 

Other leaders, such as Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, chose to lead through revolution. 

Together they led the largest rebellion of enslaved people in the Western hemisphere, liberating Haiti from colonial rule. 

Other leaders like James Baldwin opt to let their words become immortal and speak to multiple generations through their writing. 

Together we collectively stand on the shoulders of giants

Madam C.J. Walker remains one of America’s most successful businesswomen. 

She reminds us, “I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” 

Be like Madam C. J. Walker. 

Keep going.

What did you learn from these quotes from black leaders?

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