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30 Black History Month Quotes for Kids to Share All Year

These famous Black History month quotes from Black leaders and role models will inspire kids to learn more about Black History Month and be proud of their culture and heritage.
African American mom reading a book to her daughter
Updated: February 8, 2023

February is Black History Month. It is a month dedicated to honoring Black culture and the African American individuals who made a difference in American history.

When we think of Black History Month, many of us think of The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and famous civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X. Still, there are many influential Black Americans who fought before and after this time that deserve recognition today

Parents and kids should take time during February, and all year long, to teach kids why we celebrate Black History Month and pay homage to many powerful and inspiring Black voices that paved the way for a more diverse and equal society.

Related: 25 Must-Read Children’s Books for Black History Month 

Sharing inspiring quotes for Black History Month is a great way to teach kids about racism in America and learn more about these heroes of history. 

Why Should We Teach Kids about Black History Month?

Teaching children about influential Black Americans is important because it is part of our collective history. Discussing slavery, repression, segregation, and discrimination can feel uncomfortable.

Adults may struggle to find developmentally appropriate words to help their children understand these events. However, shying away from the iniquitous parts of U.S. history does nothing to teach our children our true past and formation as a nation.

In order to teach about the amazing efforts of individuals like Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks did and inspired, we must discuss the base events in human nature that inspired these people to struggle for change. 

Of course, many Black and brown Americans' accomplishments are not directly related to civil rights or slavery. Instead, they show perseverance over such obstacles or results from those who fought for equal rights before them.

Booker T. Washington, born into slavery in 1856, became a prominent African American intellectual and founded the Tuskegee Institute, now known as Tuskegee University. 

“A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.” ~ Booker T. Washington

Langston Hughes was a social activist but also an artist writing plays, novels, and poetry.

“Democracy will not come Today, this year, Nor ever Through compromise and fear.” ~ Langston Hughes

We must teach all our children about our past, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, so that future generations can avoid making the same mistakes and misjudgments about one another. 

We’ve compiled a list of inspirational quotes from inspirational Black Americans and others worldwide, both present and past, to celebrate Black History Month.

Inspiring Black History Month Quotes for Kids

Some quotes make us think, others inspire us, and many do both. If you’re looking for a way to inspire your students or children, teach them some of the following inspirational quotes and hold a discussion about what the words mean to them. 

  1. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. “The things that make us different, those are our superpowers.” ~ Lena Waithe
  3. “No matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” ~ Maya Angelou
  4. “Have a vision of excellence, a dream of success, and work like hell.” ~ Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook
  5. “We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation’s greatness.”  ~ Yvette Clarke
  6. “If somebody is different from you, that's not something you criticize; that's something that you appreciate.” ~ Barack Obama
  7. “When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Powerful Black History Quotes 

Words can empower us. They can help us find our inner strength and motivate us to do and try more. Share some of these powerful quotes with the children in your life during Black History Month. 

Black woman at protest

Ask them how the words make them feel; what do the words inspire them to want to do, try, or change?

  1. “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” ~ Dr. Mae Jemison
  2. “The soul that is within me no man can degrade.” ~ Frederick Douglass
  3. “Have a vision. Be demanding.” ~ Colin Powell
  4. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.” ~ Alice Walker
  5. “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” ~ Marcus Garvey
  6. “Freedom is never given; it is won.” ~ A. Philip Randolph

Civil Rights Leader Quotes for Kids

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s was a time when African Americans alongside other supporters and advocates fought for racial equality in the U.S. The movement was a time fraught with violence, protests, and acts of bravery against segregation laws.

Nevertheless, the events that took place led to changes in laws, the institution of more rights for Black Americans, and eventually, the voting rights act of 1965, which removed many of the policies in place that made it difficult or impossible for African American citizens to vote. 

Many argue that the Civil Rights Movement is still going on, with injustices still being carried out against minorities and people of Black and brown skin. Modern Civil Rights leaders, including President Barack Obama, Farhana Khera, and the late John Lewis (2020). 

  1. “A democracy cannot thrive where power remains unchecked, and justice is reserved for a select few. Ignoring these cries and failing to respond to this movement is simply not an option — for peace cannot exist where justice is not served.” ~ John Lewis
  2. “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  3. “As a child, we would periodically visit relatives in Pakistan, and I would observe the differences in opportunities and in freedom of movement. I was able to go to school, learn how to read and write, and get an advanced degree — in contrast to extended relatives, particularly female relatives, who could not read and write. That early consciousness of being in a restrictive society stayed with me and sparked an interest in civil rights work.” ~ Farhana Khera
  4. “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
  5. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."  ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  6. 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
  7. “I've always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy. The civil rights movement thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion. My husband's struggle parallels that of the gay rights movement.” ~ Coretta Scott King
  8. “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” ~ Desmond Tutu

Inspirational Quotes by Black Women

In the fights for equality in America, there were many women in the shadows or alongside, working just as fearlessly as men and making the world a better place. Today many Black and other women of color are still very active in speaking out for civil and women’s rights

black teen girl reading in class

So inspire the little girls and boys, you know, by teaching them about some of these brave and influential Black women. 

  1. “Truth is powerful, and it prevails.” ~ Sojourner Truth
  2. “I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.” ~ Serena Williams
  3. “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” ~ Michelle Obama
  4. “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
  5. “It isn't where you came from; it's where you're going that counts. ~ Ella Fitzgerald
  6. “Activism is my rent for living on the planet.” ~ Alice Walker
  7. “Don’t try to lessen yourself for the world; let the world catch up to you. ~ Beyoncé Knowles
  8. “Figure out what you need to do to be the heroine of your own story.” ~ Ava Duvernay
  9. “Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” ~ Susan L. Taylor

How Do I Teach My Kids about Black History Month?

Start with books if you’re unsure how to introduce Black History Month into your home. Many excellent age-appropriate books at all levels can help you teach your children about Black leaders and Black culture.

It’s also important to admit to yourself that you won’t have the answers but be prepared to help your child discover answers to their questions and research topics or events together. 

Another way to teach children Black history is to use famous quotes in this article. Pick a quote you think they can understand and talk to them about the language and what it means to them. Discussions are a great way to get the ball rolling on any topic!

Chances are your children will learn about some influential Black Americans, like Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr., in the months of January and February. 

Depending on their grade, they discuss abolitionists like Sojourner Truth or Frederick Douglass. Ask your children about what they’re learning in school, look through their school folders for assignments or homework related to Black History month and allow them to teach you what they learned.

Lastly, look for public events at the library, school, or community. There may be guest speakers, children’s activity days, read-alouds with local leaders, etc. 

The best thing you can do is open the door to the topic by discussing it. It's OK if you don’t have all the answers or are unsure how to go about it; just start somewhere.

“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

For more fun educational activities to do with kids this Black History Month check out our list of: 12 Black History Movies for Kids of All Ages

L. Elizabeth Forry

About L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom… Read more

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