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16 Inspirational Quotes by Black Leaders

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” – Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” – Thurgood Marshall, first African-American U.S. Supreme Court member

“Don’t try to lessen yourself for the world; let the world catch up to you.” – Beyoncé, Grammy Award-winning performer

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama, first Black President of the United States

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

“Have a vision. Be demanding.” – Colin Powell, first African-American Secretary of State

“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host and philanthropist

“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” – Jesse Owens, American world record-setting Olympic athlete

“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, American television showrunner

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali, American champion heavyweight boxer and activist

“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” – Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first Black head of state 

“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.” – Madam C.J. Walker, first female self-made millionaire in America

“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” – Ola Joseph, Nigerian author and speaker

“Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal.” – Ava DuVernay, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker

“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” – Marcus Garvey, Jamaican political activist

Rose Ho | Assistant Editor

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