During Black History Month, we honor the triumphs and struggles of African Americans in the United States. While Black History Month has traditionally been observed in the US, it’s now spread to Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. At Writer’s Relief, we want to take this opportunity to celebrate the many voices of Black writers—this month and every month! Here are our favorite memorable quotes from Black authors for Black History Month. Some of these quotes speak especially to writers, but all of the quotes offer inspiration and encouragement!
Our Top 15 Quotes From Black Authors
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” — Octavia E. Butler
“No Black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much.’ Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much’…No woman has ever written enough.” — bell hooks, remembered rapture: the writer at work
“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.” — Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
“When the world tells you to shrink, expand.” — Elaine Welteroth, More Than Enough
“What most people don’t realize is that when you decide to write and publish a book, it’s not for stardom, or for fame, it’s because you have a story that’s inside of you that is dying to get out! You don’t just come up with it one day, it’s a thought that evolves into something unimaginably beautiful…” — Sonita Levy
“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” — Maya Angelou
“Art is not escape, but a way of finding order in chaos, a way of confronting life.” — Robert Hayden
“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.” — James Baldwin
“Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.” — Alice Walker
“A writer’s life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity.” — Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard
“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.” — Zora Neale Hurston
“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” — Michelle Obama, Becoming
“The act of writing requires a constant plunging back into the shadow of the past where time hovers ghostlike.” — Ralph Ellison
“So my advice to other young writers: Read widely. Study other writers. Be thoughtful, then go out and do the work of changing the form, finding your own voice, and saying what you need to say. Be fearless. And care.” — Glory Edim, Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves
Writer’s Relief can help pinpoint the best markets for your short story, personal essay, poetry, novel, or memoir and boost your odds of getting published. Learn more about our services and submit your work to our Review Board today! We find the best markets for you, so you can spend more of your time writing.
If you want to try non-traditional publishing methods, we also offer assistance with self-publishing! Give us a call, and we will point you in the right direction!
Question: Which quote from a Black author is your favorite?