My Favorite Quotes from 3 of My Favorite Black Writers

HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH! In a public school K-12 education there are only a few Black figures we are taught about every year during these brief time. We learn about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and MLK Jr. I watched “My Friend Martin” enough times in elementary school to probably still have it memorized. While I do think knowing about these historical figures is important, it’s also important to know the vast different monumental contributors to Black culture and literature. My attempt at rectifying this is sharing some of my favorite quotes from 3 (of many) of my favorite Black authors. Hopefully these quotes resonate with you and awaken your passion for life!

Zora Neale Hurston

640px-Zora_Neale_Hurston_NYWTS

First of all, I absolutely love Zora Neale Hurston, the QUEEN of the Harlem Renaissance. She has been always been one of my favorite writers (overall, not any subcategory) and I really just love her. I quoted her in my graduation speech at SDSU’s Black Grad and I will probably quote her throughout my career as a creative because her words just speak to me.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

This quote has come to be one of the quotes that I use to navigate my life. In 2018 I had a particularly rough year that was full of me asking so many questions. I questioned God. I questioned myself. I questioned my relationships and if they were serving me. 2019 was a year of answers to the aforementioned questions. It was a great year full of more self-discovery and killing it on certain goals that I had set for myself. I’m not sure which type of year 2020 will bring but I trust the universe in knowing which one is that I will need. Zora Neale Hurston was onto something when she said this. I honestly live by ZNH quotes so i couldn’t pick one. Here’s another!

“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.”

I love this quote because honestly it is such a mood. There was a time in my life when I was so angry with racist people existing. That’s not to say that I still don’t have days where the fact that this country was founded on racism makes me want to act a fool… but my current acts of revolution include living a happy life where I achieve everything my heart desires. Despite most things not being created with me and my fellow black people in mind, I’m out here living my best life and making shit happen, which is something many people like me can only dream of. So if people want to have a nasty, discriminatory ideas about me, forget them! Their loss, not mine. I refuse to be perpetually angry and base my life off of racist stereotypes held by others. I think many Black people should also subscribe to this quote and try to live as happily as they can given our circumstances. Although, I also understand the need for using anger as fuel to change the world and activism. We all are doing our best to navigate what it means to be Black in America.

 

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

The first time I read Audre Lorde’s work was in undergrad when I took a woman’s studies class. We were assigned various excerpts from her book “Sister Outsider” and I really enjoyed them. There is something that is so inspiring about a proud out lesbian black woman when our community is still learning how to respect & honor the LGBTQ community. Audre refuses to let anyone take her voice away or dictate her experiences and I love that. I have two quotes from her as well because they both are words I strive to live by.

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

Similarly to Audre Lorde, I live for myself. I’m at the point in my life where I am no longer living to fit anyone’s definitions or ideas for how they’d like me to be. I think it’s important for all people, especially black women, to remember that we have to define ourselves! We have one life to live and you don’t want to look back when you’re older and wish you had actually lived life the way you see fit. I really love this quote because it constantly serves as a reminder to ask yourself “Am I defining myself? Am I living life they want I want to and not based on what I think I should* be doing?” These are good questions to ask yourself every so often to make sure you are in alignment with your truest self.

Toni Morrison

toni morrison

Toni Morrison is from the same town I was born in, little Lorain, OH. While I’m not a small-town girl by any means, it’s always brought me great joy to feel somewhat connected to this wonderful writer and powerful woman. I’ve had a picture of her and Angela Davis as my Twitter header for years. I honestly have had it there so long I couldn’t tell you what I had before that. When she passed away last year I cried and cried and reflected on how her work impacted me. I could write a whole other blog post about that but if you’re not familiar with her works then you need to change that, ASAP.

“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

I love this quote because I believe it is so important to lift as we climb. I’ve always been someone who believed that when Black people come together as a community, great things happen. I can’t wait to be in a position where I can help fellow Black people pursuing legal careers or other endeavors with not only cheering them on but providing access to resources and monetary support. I still do these things now but I’d like to do them in a larger capacity. The main thing I can say that people should take away from this quote is to LIFT AS YOU CLIMB and HELP OTHERS. ❤

There are so many other beautiful & brilliant black people I could quote and I might make some other posts later on but I hope you enjoyed these. These are definitely quotes I always keep in mind and I hope they change your life!

Do you have any favorite quotes from historical figures in Black history? Leave a comment below and share!

3 Books I’m Re-Reading For A More Fulfilling Year

One thing I have enjoyed in my post-grad life is the being able to go back to leisurely reading. When I was a kid I absolutely adored reading for fun. As I got older school started assigning me so many books that reading for fun just wasn’t a priority anymore. After I graduated I started reading more and I actually made it a goal to read 2 books a month in 2017. While I underestimated how difficult that would be working 2 jobs and studying for the LSAT I was able to read 10 new books! Some of these books had a greater impact on me than others so I decided I would re-read them this year to refresh myself on what they taught me or what I liked about them.

My current favorite genres are self-help/self-development and poetry so the books on this list will be fall into one of those categories.

  1. Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

This book is one of the shorter books I read last year but make no mistake, it teaches you a lot in less than 200 pages. What I really enjoyed about Tracy’s book is that it does not have any fluff and gets straight the point. Often times in self-development books they take many many words to say something that could be effectively understood in less words. Tracy does this and that’s why I decided I must re-read this book again just because it was so good at teaching me something. I honestly couldn’t put the book down and finished it in only 2 days. It’s based on careers and business but you definitely can take the concepts and apply them to any area in life. If you need help to leave procrastinating as a thing in the past, check this book out!

2. Salt by Nayyirah Waheed

This was my favorite poetry book that I read this year. My only regret reading this book was that I hadn’t read it sooner. This book was on my wishlist for quit sometime and I barely got around to reading it sometime in the middle of last year. I was severely late to the Nayyirah Waheed party but now I have seen the light. Her style of writing is beautiful and I especially enjoy how her poems are simple yet contain so much emotion that we can feel as readers. The topics range from relationships to self-love and white supremacy and she tackles all of these artistically and with raw emotion. If you only have time to read one poetry book this year I would recommend Waheed’s Salt and I can’t wait to re-read it this year.  I’m also excited to pick up her other book, Nejma.

3. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

I really enjoyed reading this book. I think Sincero does a good job of making herself appealing to younger aged millennials like me by writing about self-help in a very relatable and basic lanuage. I found her book hilarious because she has a knack for cursing and anyone who knows me knows that’s my MO as well. I found this book a little bit more exciting than other books of its genre. Sincero is very good at narrating her life experiences and teaching concepts from them. While there were some parts of it that I didn’t necessarily agree with, (I do not like the way some modern self-help books discuss things like depression) the overall concepts of the book were extremely helpful for me during my post-grad journey last year. This is definitely a book to pick up if you want to get into self-help books and have a wild sense of humor!

Honorable Mentions of Books I Might Re-read

  • The Alchemist
  • The Four Agreements
  • The Fifth Agreement

These are books I would recommend for everyone. I will probably re-read The Alchemist and only skim through The Agreements Books, only because I re-read them last year and reading them once. Reading a good book can truly be therapeutic and good for the mind. Just because you aren’t in school anymore doesn’t mean that you can keep learning and expanding your mind. This year I hope to expand out of my self-help/self-development and poetry comfort zone and truly expand my horizons.

What are some books you are re-reading this year and highly recommend? What are some books you’ve never read before and plan to read this year? Let me know in the comments!

*This post contains affiliate links.

 1,801 miles

the distance between me & all my family that i love.

It’s not a ride down the street

Or even a 5 hour drive

It’s plane rides (which give me anxiety)

It’s missed birthdays, school recitals, football & basketball games.
It’s missed visits to assisted living facilities & only being to able to visit the Hospital via phone call.

“May i speak to the nurses station?”
It’s trying to visit when I’m in town

But Cleveland is a 45 minute drive & 

I don’t have my license yet. 

It’s not wanting to ask your grandpa

For a ride to visit your Nana 

Because he has chemo this week. 
So you stay as long as you can

When he can give you a ride

(but not too late because

he hates driving in the dark)
It’s feeling trapped in the small town life

When you’ve been there two months…
But once you leave

you don’t know if the next time 

You’ll be back is for a funeral
It’s a phone call that says 

“I’m tired” and your heart sinks

To the bottom of your feet
It’s not being able to hug

Your Nana when she’s tired of

Fighting for her life. 
It’s wishing you could do more

Or say more, or stay more, 

stay longer or ask her to.
But how can you ask someone to

Stay longer when longer is never enough?

-when you move away from home | guilt