Powerful Book Quotes from African-American Authors

Happy Wednesday!

We love a book with a strong message. But we also know that a single quote can be just as influential. So to continue this month’s celebration of all things Black History, we’ve rounded up a list of 10 very powerful quotes from some of our favourite African-American authors. They are sure to have a lasting effect.


“There is no one way to be black. Blackness is not a monolith and you are not someone who is lost in the abyss of uniformity. Blackness is a kaleidoscope where, if you look closely, you will see many colourful patterns within the many reflections in the mirror. There is no one way to be black.”

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jenkins

go set a watchman

“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends. That’s odd, isn’t it?”

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee


“I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?”

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


“Their dark skin, their gender, their economic status – none of those were acceptable excuses for not giving the fullest rein to their imaginations and ambitions.”

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly


“We fold our immigrant selves into this veneer of what we think is African American girlhood. The result is more jagged than smooth.”

American Street by Ibi Zoboi


“‘When it comes to understanding other,’ I said, ‘we rarely tax our imaginations.'”

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill


“But I warn you, you drink all the milk in France, you still not turn white.”

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

we're going to need more wine

“Just as the cops were annoyed when Ricky said he has been repeatedly stopped because he is black, discussion of race is often dismissed or talked over unless it is in a sanctioned space. You can talk about your experience at a roundtable on race, but don’t talk about yourself at a ‘regular’ roundtable.”

We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

What are some of your favourites, Savvy Readers? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @SavvyReader.

Happy Black History Month!


Follow me on Twitter @michelleskelsey


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Canadian publishing professionals and bloggers. Looking for savvy readers to talk books with us!

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