Oords can do more than tell a story. They can also paint a beautiful picture, filled with rich detail and history.
Talented black orators, poets and wordsmiths of the past, born with the gift of articulating words like an artist stroking a brush across an open canvas, have captivated the world in every aspect of life.
The beauty of art, whatever its form, never dies. Buried within lives a lasting legacy endowed by its creator to hopefully impact your life, present or future. From black political leaders like Shirley Chisholm, whose vernacular was worthy of a superhero, to poets like Maya Angelou, who could make words flow like a bend in a river, all left their mark on society. . Their words still give people hope, they help people find meaning in their lives and they need to be celebrated.
The internet is filled with “quote posts”. You can find an article about quotes on anything, especially quotes from characters we celebrate each Black History month. (If that’s what you’re looking for, click here.) This piece is about the art of wordplay and the celebration of beauty. black history quotes and passages that represent the art of colloquium. Below are five of the most beautifully written quotes, poems or passages in black history.
Shirley Chisholm, March 26, 1969 – United States House of Representatives, Washington DC
“We Americans have come to feel that it is our mission to make the world free. We believe that we are the good guys, everywhere, in Vietnam, in Latin America, everywhere we go. also the good guys at home.When the Kerner Commission told white America what black America has always known, that prejudice and hatred built the Nation’s slums, maintain them and profit from them, the White America wouldn’t believe it. But it’s true. Unless we begin to fight and defeat the enemies of poverty and racism in our own country and our discourse of equality and opportunity rings true, we are exposed as hypocrites in the eyes of the world when we talk about setting others free.”
Malcolm X, Prospects of Freedom in 1965
“Power never backs down-only in the face of more power. Power does not back down from a smile, or from a threat, or from some kind of nonviolent loving action. It is not the nature of power to back down in the face of anything, but a little more power.
Maya Angelou, from the poem Still I Rise
You can write me in history
With your bitter and twisted lies,
You can trample me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I will rise.
Does my impertinence bother you?
Why are you assailed with sadness?
‘Cause I walk like I got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like the moons and like the suns,
With the certainty of the tides,
Just like the hopes that spring up,
I will still get up.
Martin Luther King Jr., 1956 Speech in Montgomery, Alabama
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he must sweep the streets as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep the streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth would stop to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’
Henry Louis Gates Jr., an excerpt from “Colored People: A Memoir”, 1995
“I rebel against the idea that I can’t belong to other groups, that I can’t construct identities by elective affinity, that race has to be the most important thing about me. This is what I want on my headstone: Here lies an African American? I am therefore torn. I want to be black, know black, bask in what I would call blackness at some point – but do it to come out the other side, to experience a humanity that is neither colorless nor reducible to color. Bach and James Brown. Sushi and fried catfish.
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