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African-American Voices

Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law. … I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, that they will be forced to deal with the pain.
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

There are days when we can bring before God a deep and glad laughter of joy and gratitude. There will be other days when we can only muster a bitter, angry complaint. If it is honest, be confident that God will accept whatever it is we truly have to lift up before him, and he will make it serve his purpose and our good.
The Works of Gardner Taylor, Volume 1

It cannot be denied that too often the weight of the Christian movement has been on the side of the strong and the powerful and against the weak and oppressed—this, despite the gospel.
Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited

To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardship.
W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

The great thing about serving the poor is that there is no competition.
Eugene Rivers, quoted in Newsweek

America will tolerate the taking of a human life without giving it a second thought. But don't misuse a household pet.
Dick Gregory, The Shadow that Scares Me

If it's wrong for 13-year-old inner-city girls to have babies without the benefit of marriage, it's wrong for rich celebrities, and we ought to stop putting them on the cover of People magazine.
Marian Wright Edelman, Lanterns

If people believe that they are marrying out of love and free choice rather than out of duty, they are more likely to decide, if love should die, that the free choice to join together is no more significant than the free choice to part, and to look for love elsewhere; those married out of duty expect less love to begin with, and what duty has brought together, duty may keep together.
Stephen L. Carter, Integrity

Never before has the seductive market way of life held such sway in nearly every sphere of American life. This marketing way of life promotes addictions to stimulation and obsessions with comfort and convenience … centered primarily around bodily pleasures and status rankings. … The common denominator is a rugged and ragged individualism and rapacious hedonism in quest of a perennial "high" in body and mind.
Cornel West, Race Matters

Any god I ever felt in church I brought with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They came to church to share God, not find God.
Alice Walker, The Color Purple

The differences between black folk and white folk are not blood or color, and the ties that bind us are deeper than those that separate us. The common road of hope which we all traveled has brought us into a stronger kinship than any words, laws, or legal claims.
Richard Wright, 12 Million Black Voices

Lord, prop me up on my every leanin' side.

Prayer by an anonymous black minister

Related Elsewhere's Black History Month area offers related articles from Christianity Today and our sister publications.

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