Just the Facts

What’s the Word?

In honor of Black History Month, get inspired by these thoughtful quotes from noteworthy African American leaders, thinkers, and doers.

Paul Slade/Paris Match via Getty Images

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: a desire, a dream, a vision.… But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

—Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), professional boxer and social activist

Serena Xu-Ning/UPI/Shutterstock

“While we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.”

—Amanda Gorman (1998-  ), poet


“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.… You can hear other people’s wisdom, but you’ve got to reevaluate the world for yourself.”

—Mae Jemison (1956-  ), engineer, physician, and NASA astronaut

IanDagnall Computing/Alamy Stock Photo

“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”

—Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919), entrepreneur and inventor

Alberto E. Tamargo/Sipa via AP Images

“Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.… The responsibility is ours alone to build a better society and a more peaceful world.”

—John Lewis (1940-2020), civil rights activist and U.S. congressman

Jean-Baptiste LaCroix/AFP via Getty Images

“What do you do when you get power? The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people.”

—Chadwick Boseman (1976-2020), actor and playwright

Write About It! Choose a quote from this page that stands out to you. Use your own words to summarize what the person is saying. Then explain how his or her message can apply to your own life.