Inspire and educate your team with these Black History Month quotes for work in 2023.
In this list, you’ll find quotes from Black leaders, authors, musicians, activists, scientists, athletes, and more.
As a result, your team can start each day of Black History Month 2023 with a thought provoking or encouraging quote. Plus, read on for more ideas and activities to honor Black History Month together!
Black History Month Quotes for Work 2023 – This Guide Includes:
- What is Black History Month?
- How to share Black History Month quotes with your team
- Black History Month quotes for work 2023
- Black History Month quotes about social justice, Black excellence, success and business, and more
- Additional 32+ ideas to celebrate Black History Month at work in 2023
In this list, you’ll find:
- Black History Month quotes for work 2023
- Quotes about Civil Rights, Social Justice, and equality
- Quotes from African American inventors, authors, and leaders
- Black History Month quotes to inspire your team
- Ways to celebrate Black History Month at work
Try Our Black History Month Virtual Team Building Experience
Trusted by Google, Coca-Cola, UPS, and more! Unexpected Virtual Tours offers fun and creative fully hosted virtual experiences for corporate teams. For example, try our Black History Month virtual experience with interactive guides, fascinating stories, a live tour of significant Black history sites, and more.
What is Black History Month?
Black History Month is a month to celebrate the accomplishments and the history of Black people. Additionally, this is a time to recognize the unjust treatment of Black people throughout history as well as systemic injustices that persist today.
As a result, Black History Month is an opportune time to demonstrate your company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Black History Month can be a time of deeper connection and learning for your team. Honor the occasion with a team-building activity, a thought provoking dialogue, or a hands on social justice project.
When is Black History Month?
Black History Month 2023 will take place in February 2023.
How to Share Black History Month Quotes with Your Team
Send a Daily Email
Each morning of Black History Month, you can send your team an email with one of the quotes from this list. As a result, everyone will start their day feeling inspired and energized.
To deepen the connection, invite people to “reply all” if a quote particularly moves them. They can share their thoughts, or even offer another quote that it reminds them of.
Another idea is to assign other people on your team to take turns sharing quotes each day. Everyone can pick an author, leader, athlete, or historical figure and share their words as well as some information about their life and impact.
Create a Slack Channel
Create a #blackhistorymonth Slack channel to inspire connection, dialogue, and insight on your team. Here, you can share quotes along with miscellaneous Black History Month trivia or milestones. Additionally, a Slack channel is a great place to involve everyone in the conversation so they can share their own ideas and reactions.
Want to expand on this idea? Go beyond Black History Month and designate your channel as a DEI Slack channel! Throughout the year, your team can share trivia, quotes, activities, and more. Celebrate holidays like International Women’s Day, Juneteenth, Pride Month, and more.
Start Team Meetings with a Quote
Incorporate Black History Month into your virtual team meetings. To do this, start your departmental meetings with a Black History Month quote from this list. Spend the first five to ten minutes of the meeting going around and hearing everyone’s reflections about the quote.
Or, delve into a Black History Month topic together. You can take turns each preparing a mini presentation on a Black History Month topic of your choice to start off your meeting. Everyone will learn something new together while honoring this occasion.
Black History Month Quotes for Work 2023
Black History Month Quotes About Social Justice
1. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights leader. MLK, Jr. is remembered around the world for his vision of equality and his incredible leadership of the Civil Rights cause.
2. “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”
– Frederick Douglass, social reformer and national leader of the abolitionist movement. Incredibly, Douglass escaped from slavery in Maryland and wrote three autobiographies. For example, you may have read his most well-known work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in school.
3. “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
– Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968. Additionally, Chisholm was the first woman to campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Known as “Fighting Shirley,” her campaign slogan still feels relevant today: “Unbought and Unbossed.”
4. “I lost most of my friends. Their parents had told them to stay away from me, because they said I was crazy. I was an extremist.”
– Claudette Colvin, Civil Rights trailblazer. Around nine months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat in 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin did the same. At that time, Colvin was arrested for her refusal to move from her seat in the middle of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Because Colvin was pregnant and unmarried at the time, her story was not as widely shared. Today, many people still don’t know about her courageous act of defiance.
5. “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.'”
– Ibram X. Kendi, author, historian, and anti-racism activist. His book How To Be An Anti-Racist gained popularity in the wake of social justice protests. In fact, Dr. Kendi is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of eight books. Additionally, he serves as Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people of 2020. Finally, Dr. Kendi was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Genius Grant.
6. “As a political weapon, it has helped me for 30 years defend the rights of American Blacks and third-world people all over the world, to defend them with protest songs. To move the audience to make them conscious of what has been done to my people around the world.”
– Dr. Nina Simone, an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and Civil Rights activist. She received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2000 as well as two honorary degrees in music and humanities from Amherst College and Malcolm X College. Simone was also inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Black History Month Quotes About Courage & Fear
7. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes the fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
– Rosa Parks, Civil Rights activist who refused to give up her bus seat to a white person in 1955. As a result of Parks’ actions, the Montgomery Bus Boycott took place from December 1955-1956. This social protest ended when the Supreme Court declared the Alabama and Montgomery bus segregation laws unconstitutional.
8. “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
– Amanda Gorman, youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Gorman is a Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University who read her original poetry at President Biden’s inauguration in 2021. Prior to that, in 2017, Gorman was named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate by Urban Word.
9. “Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare.”
– Muhammad Ali, known as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. Even today, Ali is remembered as one of the most celebrated sports icons in history. Additionally, Ali was a poet and Grammy nominated spoken word artist, philanthropist, writer, and actor.
10. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela, former first President of South Africa and anti-Apartheid leader. As a revolutionary activist, Mandela was arrested repeatedly and even sentenced to life imprisonment. Because of incredible global pressure, Mandela was released after serving 27 years in prison. Then, Mandela fought alongside other leaders to end apartheid and became the first President of South Africa. After his term ended, he continued to devote his life to charitable and humanitarian work.
11. “History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.”
– Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States, lawyer, and author. Michelle Obama is the first African-American First Lady of the U.S. She is also an advocate for healthy families, women’s and girls’ education, and related causes.
Black History Month Quotes About Black Excellence
12. “I am a product of every other black woman before me who has done or said anything worthwhile. Recognizing that I am part of history is what allows me to soar.”
– Oprah Winfrey, TV producer, talk show host, cultural icon, author, actress, and philanthropist. Oprah was born to a single teenage mother in poverty in rural Mississippi. During her teenage years, she worked her way up in television production. Then, at the age of 19, she became a co-anchor on the local evening news. Eventually, she launched her own production company and talk show. Winfrey was once the world’s only Black billionaire. Additionally, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
13. “We have always been wonderful. I see us reflected in the world’s most heavenly things. Black is king. We were beauty before they knew what beauty was.”
– Beyoncé Knowles, 28-time Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, and icon. In fact, Beyoncé is the most-awarded female artist of all time, and one of the best-selling artists of all time.
14. “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”
– Maya Angelou, poet, writer, and Civil Rights activist.
15. “Like that poem that Maya Angelou said, that we are the hope and the dream of a slave. If you think about what the slave had to go through, and then the life that we are privileged to live — I wouldn’t want to be any other color…I’m really proud to wear this color every single day of my life.”
– Serena Williams, tennis legend and widely regarded as the greatest athlete of all time. During her career, Williams has won 39 Grand Slam titles, 72 Women’s Tennis Association titles, and four gold Olympic medals. Additionally, Williams is a fashion designer, movie producer, and philanthropist.
Black History Month Quotes About Success & Business
16. “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
– Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time. During his time in the NBA, “MJ” helped popularize basketball. That’s because people around the world looked up to Michael Jordan for his incredible skills on the court. Additionally, he is known for his competitiveness and devotion to the sport. As a result, MJ became a pop culture icon, popularizing Air Jordan sneakers and starring in the Space Jam movie. All in all, Jordan played in the NBA for fifteen seasons. He was also voted MVP six times and won six championships with the Chicago Bulls.
17. “Developing a good work ethic is key. Apply yourself at whatever you do because that work ethic will be reflected in everything you do in life.”
– Tyler Perry, producer, director, actor, screenwriter, author, entrepreneur, playwright, and philanthropist. Once the highest-paid man in entertainment, Perry continues to have a tremendous influence on Hollywood and the world. In fact, Time named Tyler Perry as one of the most 100 Influential People of 2020.
18. “I believe in destiny. But I also believe that you can’t just sit back and let destiny happen…You can’t sit there waiting on it. A lot of times you are going to have to get out there and make it happen.”
– Spike Lee, film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Lee’s work has received wide acclaim and has explored topics like social justice, race relations, and other political issues.
Black History Month Quotes About Entrepreneurship & Leadership
19. “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, the most popular female jazz singer in the U.S. for over half a century. Additionally, Fitzgerald was a civil rights activist who faced discrimination throughout her career. She earned the NAACP Equal Justice Award and the American Black Achievement Award. In addition, she also received the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
20. “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, a self-made entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist. Born as Sarah Breedlove in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker was born on the plantation where her parents had been enslaved. According to madamcjwalker.com, she transformed herself “from an uneducated farm laborer and laundress into tone of the twentieth century’s most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs.”
21. “Dreams are lovely but they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams to 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, storyteller and award-winning screenwriter, producer, and author. You may know Shonda Rhimes as the creator, head writer, and executive producer of hit shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal. Time Magazine named her as one of the most 100 influential people in the world. Her book, Year of Yes, is a New York Times bestseller. Rhimes has also won a prestigious Peabody Award and was appointed by President Obama to serve as Trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Black History Month Quotes About Personal Development & Growth
22. “Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”
– Jackie Robinson, legendary American baseball player and the first African American in Major League Baseball. Robinson won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1947. From 1949-1954, he was an All-Star for six seasons in a row. Additionally, in 1949, he became the first Black baseball player to win the National League MVP Award. During his career, Robinson played in six World Series games and helped the Dodgers win the World Series Championship in 1955. Above: Robinson with his son at the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. in 1963.
23. “My biggest discovery was that you can literally re-create your life. You can redefine it. You don’t have to live in the past. I found that not only did I have fight in me, I had love.”
– Viola Davis, in her book “Finding Me.” Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. Additionally, as the winner of an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards, she is also the only African-American to achieve the so-called “Triple Crown of Acting.” In 2020, The New York Times ranked her 9th on its list of the 21st century’s greatest actors.
24. “Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make the life you want to live.”
– Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space. Jemison is a former NASA Astronaut, Doctor, and Engineer. Additionally, she has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame.
Quotes About Black History Month
25. “The mere imparting of information is not education. Above all things, the effort must result in making a man think and do for himself.”
– Carter G. Woodson, often called the “Father of Black History.” Woodson was an American historian, author, and journalist. Additionally, he founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. In February 1926, Carter was behind the launch of “Negro History Week,” which eventually turned into Black History Month.
26. “History is a people’s memory, and without a memory, man is demoted to the lower animals.”
– Malcolm X, activist and prominent Civil Rights leader. Malcolm X has been described as one of the most influential and noteworthy African Americans in history.
27. “Black History Month is more than a celebration. It’s a powerful reminder that Black history is American history…it’s critical that we take the time to celebrate the contributions of Black Americans, honor the legacy of generations past, reckon with centuries of injustice and confront injustice that still festers today.”
– President Joe Biden, in “A Message from President Biden honoring Black History Month 2022.”
28. “The thing about Black history is that the truth is so much more complex than anything you could make up.”
– Henry Louis Gates, Jr., American historian, literary critic, professor, and filmmaker. He is the Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Among his many accomplishments, Gates has also hosted the TV Series Finding Your Roots on PBS. This show uses history and genealogy to explore guests’ ancestry and family history.
More Ways to Celebrate Black History Month 2023
Looking for more ways to celebrate Black History Month with your team? If so, check out our updated guide: 32+ Virtual Black History Month Ideas for Work 2023.
Or, Book our interactive Black History Month Virtual Team Building Experience! This turnkey session explores the story of Black history itself. You’ll learn all about the life and legacy of Dr. Carter Woodson, often called the “Father of Black History.”