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African Americans Quotes

54 of the best book quotes from African Americans
  1. #1
    “I can testify, from my own experience and observation, that slavery is a curse to the whites as well as to the blacks.”
  2. #2
    “Daddy once told me there’s a rage passed down to every black man from his ancestors, born the moment they couldn’t stop the slave masters from hurting their families. Daddy also said there’s nothing more dangerous than when that rage is activated.”
  3. #3
    “It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.”
  4. #4
    “When the Khalils get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That’s the hate they’re giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That’s Thug Life.”
  5. #5
    “But then, she had always admired them, their strength and compassion. She had always wondered how they could love and care for white children and nurse old white men and women with such gentleness and care. She didn’t think she could have.”
  6. #6
    “The entire narrative of this country argues against the truth of who you are.”
  7. #7
    “At the onset of the Civil War, our stolen bodies were worth four billion dollars, more than all of American industry, all of American railroads, workshops, and factories combined, and the prime product rendered by our stolen bodies — cotton — was America’s primary export.”
  8. #8
    “For so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies. And knowing this, knowing that the Dream persists by warring with the known world, I was sad for the host, I was sad for all those families, I was sad for my country but above all, in that moment, I was sad for you.”
  9. #9
    “Perhaps I too might live free. Perhaps I too might wield the same old power that animated the ancestors, that lived in Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Nanny, Cudjoe, Malcolm X, and speak––no, act––as though my body were my own.”
  10. #10
    “I’m a Southerner, born and bred, but that doesn’t mean I approve of all that goes on here, and there are a lot of other white people who feel the same.”
  1. #11
    “To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear.”
  2. #12
    “The emotions between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.”
  3. #13
    “‘There’s nobody to guide them through the process of becoming a man... to explain to them the meaning of manhood. And that’s a recipe for disaster.’”
  4. #14
    “Away from my mother, away from my grandparents, I was engaged in a fitful interior struggle. I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given of my appearance, no one around me seemed to know exactly what that meant.”
  5. #15
    “My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn’t, couldn’t, end there.”
  6. #16
    “I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds, understanding that each possessed its own language and customs and structures of meaning, convinced that with a bit of translation on my part the two worlds would eventually cohere.”
  7. #17
    “I was taught never to take advantage of anyone who was less fortunate than myself, whether he be less fortunate in brains, wealth, or social position; it meant anybody, not just Negroes.”
  8. #18
    “With the passage of time, I became increasingly aware of how all of the adults around me were living with constant fear and apprehension . . . I was feeling more and more vulnerable as I watched them continually struggle to solve the mystery of what white folks expected of them. They behaved as though it were an awful sin to overlook even one of those unspoken rules and step out of ‘their place,’ to cross some invisible line. And yet lots of discussions in my household were about how to cross that line, when to cross that line, and who could cross that line without getting hurt.”
  9. #19
    “My mother was one of the first few blacks to integrate the University of Arkansas, graduating in 1954. Three years later, when Grandma discovered I would be one of the first blacks to attend Central High School, she said the nightmare that had surrounded my birth was proof positive that destiny had assigned me a special task.”
  10. #20
    “Black folks aren’t born expecting segregation, prepared from day one to follow its confining rules. Nobody presents you with a handbook when you’re teething and says, ‘Here’s how you must behave as a second-class citizen.’ Instead, the humiliating expectations and traditions of segregation creep over you, slowly stealing a teaspoonful of your self-esteem each day.”

Books about identity

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Petra book
Picture book
6.0
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We're All Wonders book
Picture book
5.8
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Alma and How She Got Her Name book
Picture book
5.6
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Amazing Grace book
Picture book
5.6
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The Best Kind of Bear book
Picture book
5.4
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Not Quite Narwhal book
Picture book
5.3
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Mixed Me! book
Picture book
5.3
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I Like Myself! book
Board book
5.0
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  1. #21
    “For me, Cincinnati was the promised land. After a few days there, I lost that Little Rock feeling of being choked and kept in ‘my place’ by white people. I felt free, as though I could soar above the clouds.”
  2. #22
    “You’ll make this your last cry. You’re a warrior on the battlefield for your Lord. God’s warriors don’t cry, ‘cause they trust that he’s always by their side.”
  3. #23
    “I think only the warrior exists in me now. Melba went away to hide. She was too frightened to stay here.”
  4. #24
    “My mother was one of the first few blacks to integrate the University of Arkansas, graduating in 1954. Three years later, when Grandma discovered I would be one of the first blacks to attend Central High School, she said the nightmare that had surrounded my birth was proof positive that destiny had assigned me a special task.”
  5. #25
    “It’s Thursday, September 26, 1957. Now I have a bodyguard. I know very well that the President didn’t send those soldiers just to protect me but to show support for an idea—the idea that a governor can’t ignore federal laws. Still, I feel specially cared about because the guard is there.”
  6. #26
    “After three full days inside Central, I know that integration is a much bigger word than I thought.”
  7. #27
    “It felt as though we always had a white foot pressed against the back of our necks.”
  8. #28
    “It felt as though we always had a white foot pressed against the back of our necks.”
  9. #29
    “Appeals weren’t for the likes of John Coffey, not back then.”
  10. #30
    “What they were seeing was black.”
  1. #31
    “Do you mean to kill him, you cowards? Do you mean to kill the man who saved Melinda Moores’s life, who tried to save those little girls’ lives? Well, at least there will be one less black man in the world, won’t there? You can console yourselves with that. One less n*gger.”
  2. #32
    ″ If you are not careful in this country, your children will become what you don’t know. ”
  3. #33
    “Even took that kind of work from the white boys, because they would do it so much cheaper than the white boys would. Anything not to work alongside the niggers.”
  4. #34
    “So each time a male child is born, they hope he will be the one to change this vicious circle—which he never does. Because even though he wants to change it, and maybe even tries to change it, it is too heavy a burden because of all the others who have run away and left their burdens behind.”
  5. #35
    “It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment.”
  6. #36
    “Joe Starks was the name, yeah Joe Starks from in and through Georgy. Been workin’ for white folks all his life. Saved up some money – round three hundred dollars, yes indeed, right here in his pocket. Kept hearin’ ‘bout them buildin’ a new state down heah in Floridy and sort of wanted to come. But he was makin’ money where he was. But when he heard all about ‘em makin’ a town all outa colored folks, he knowed dat was de place he wanted to be. He had always wanted to be a big voice, but de white folks had all de sayso where he come from and everywhere else, exceptin’ de place dat colored folks was buildin’ theirselves. Dat was right too. De man dat built things oughta boss it. Let colored folks build thing too if dey wants to crow over somethin’. ”
  7. #37
    “Us colored folks is too envious of one ‘nother. Dat’s how come us don’t git o further than us do. Us talks about de white man keepin’ us down! Shucks! He don’t have tuh. Us keeps our own selves down.”
  8. #38
    “One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body.”
  9. #39
    “To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.”
  10. #40
    “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.”

Books about slavery

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Abe's Honest Words book
Picture book
7.0
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Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom book
Picture book
6.0
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Before She Was Harriet book
Picture book
5.5
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Juneteenth for Mazie book
Picture book
5.5
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Freedom Bird: A Tale of Hope and Courage book
Picture book
5.4
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Words Set Me Free book
Picture book
5.3
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Freedom Soup book
Picture book
5.1
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  1. #41
    “Well sped, my boy, before the world had dubbed your ambition insolence, had held your ideals unattainable, and taught you to cringe and bow.”
  2. #42
    “And yet the fire through which Alexander Crummell went did not burn in vain. Slowly and more soberly he took up again his plan of life. More critically he studied the situation. Deep down below the slavery and servitude of the Negro people he saw their fatal weaknesses, which long years of mistreatment had emphasized. The dearth of strong moral character, of unbending righteousness, he felt, was their great shortcoming, and here he would begin.”
  3. #43
    “The final product of our training must be neither a psychologist nor a brickmason, but a man.”
  4. #44
    “The keynote of the Black Belt is debt; continued inability on the part of the mass of the population to make income cover expense.”
  5. #45
    “Only those who have watched and guided the faltering feet, the misty minds, the dull understands, of the dark pupils of these schools know how faithfully, how piteously, this people strove to learn.”
  6. #46
    “They whose lot is gravest must have the carefullest training to think aright.”
  7. #47
    “For this is certain, no secure civilization can be built in the South with the Negro as an ignorant, turbulent proletariat.”
  8. #48
    “They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then instead of saying directly, How does it feel like to be a problem?, they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town, or...”
  9. #49
    “Oh,” thought I, “this is lucky”, but even then felt the awful shadow of the Veil, for they ate first, then I---alone.”
  10. #50
    “My log schoolhouse was gone. In its place stood progress; and Progress, I understand, is necessarily ugly.”
  11. #51
    “I had begun to notice that my mother became irritated when I questioned her about whites and blacks, and I could not quite understand it.”
  12. #52
    “Had a black boy announced that he aspired to be a writer, he would have been unhesitatingly called crazy by his pals. Or had a black boy spoken of yearning to get a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, his friends--in the boy’s own interest--would have reported his odd ambition to the white boss.”
  13. #53
    “I stood on the sidewalks of New York with a black skin, practically no money, and I was not absorbed with the burning questions of the left-wing literary movement in the United States, but with the problem of how to get a bath.”
  14. #54
    “Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal.”
Book Topics › segregation
Children's Books About Segregation
Book Topics › discrimination
Children's Books About Discrimination
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