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9 Inspiring Quotes about Faith from Black Leaders

9 Inspiring Quotes about Faith from Black Leaders

In 1926, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History dubbed the second week of February Negro History Week. The date was meant to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Fredrick Douglass. In 1976, the week evolved into a month, and Black History Month was born. Each year, February is designated by the U.S. president as Black History Month. The long-held tradition aims to celebrate the achievements made by African Americans and to highlight the role Black people have played in America’s history.

Here are nine inspiring quotes by Black American leaders:

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Janusz T.

  • 1. George Washington Carver

    1. George Washington Carver


    George Washington Carver was born into slavery in the early 1860s, just before slavery was abolished in the aftermath of the Civil War. He became the first black student to study at Iowa State University and became a professor at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Carver was an agricultural scientist who wrote about methods for soil preservation and taught farmers uses crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes instead of soil-depleting crops like cotton.

    “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” - George Washington Carver

    Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/MPI/ Stringer

  • 2. Rosa Parks

    2. Rosa Parks


    Rosa Parks was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement who is best known for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She garnered national attention when on December 1, 1955, she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger when the whites-only section had been filled up. Her arrest inspired a year-long boycott of the buses in Montgomery. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. 

    "Prayer and the Bible became a part of my everyday thoughts and beliefs. I learned to put my trust in God and to seek Him as my strength." - Rosa Parks

    Photo courtesy: ©USIA National Archives and Records Administration Records of the US Information Agency Record Group

  • 3. Frederick Douglass

    3. Frederick Douglass


    Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the late 1810s in Maryland. A slave master’s wife taught Douglass to read when he was 12 and he escaped from slavery in his late teens. He became a prominent voice in the abolitionist movement and a confidant to several Presidents.

    “I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I, therefore, hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.” - Frederick Douglass

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  • 4. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    4. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


    Martin Luther King was a pastor and the most well-known leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He rose to prominence through his leadership during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped organize the March on Washington as well as the Selma to Montgomery march. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

    “I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.” - Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Photo courtesy: ©Wikimedia Commons

  • 5. Harriet Tubman

    5. Harriet Tubman


    Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland in 1822 but escaped in 1849. She was the most famous of the “conductors” on the Underground Railroad, helping 70 slaves to escape to freedom. She worked as a nurse and cook during the Civil War and also guided a raid which helped to liberate over 700 slaves.

    “I always tole God, ‘I’m gwine [going] to hole stiddy on you, an’ you’ve got to see me through.’” – Harriet Tubman

    Photo courtesy: ©Horatio Seymour Squyer/Public Domain

  • 6. Maya Angelou

    6. Maya Angelou


    Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis and became a famous playwright, editor, and poet. She worked for both Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement. The “I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings” author also recited one of her poems at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993. President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.

    “I found that I knew not only that there was a God but that I was a child of God. When I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalized that, ingested that, I became courageous.” – Maya Angelou

    Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer

  • 7. Jackie Robinson

    7. Jackie Robinson


    Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier when he played first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Though he faced persecution and abuse for playing the game he loved, he won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 and was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1949. Major League Baseball retired the number 42 on all major league teams and once a year, every player in every MLB game wears his number in his memory. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom after his death.

    There’s nothing like faith in God to help a fellow who gets booted around once in a while.” – Jackie Robinson

    Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Hulton Archive/Stringer

  • 8. Fred Luter

    8. Fred Luter


    Fred Luter became the first black President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2012. He has served as the Pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church since 1986. The church was the largest Baptist church in the state of Louisiana until a significant number of the church’s 7,000 members were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

    “Once you have been reconciled to God, you have no problem being reconciled to others.” – Fred Luter

    Photo courtesy: ©Wikimedia Commons/Richard David Ramsey, resized and cropped to 1200x627

  • 9. John Lewis

    9. John Lewis


    Congressman John Lewis has represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District in the House of Representatives since 1987. He was one of the major leaders involved in the 1963 March on Washington and was active throughout the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis helped lead the Selma to Montgomery March and suffered a fractured skull from a police officer on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

    “I accepted the teaching of Jesus, the way of love, the way of nonviolence, the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. The idea that hate is too heavy a burden to bear. I don’t want to go down that road. I’ve seen too much hate, seen too much violence. And I know love is a better way.” – John Lewis

    Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool


    Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”