Black people usually refers to people of relatively recent African descent (see African diaspora), although other usages extend the term to any of the populations characterized by having a dark skin color, a definition that also includes certain populations in Oceania and Southwest Asia.
- Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.
- Muhammad Ali, attributed in Chambers Sporting Quotations (1990), by Simon James, p. 27
- "I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me".
- Muhammad Ali, The Greatest
- "It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others. . . . One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warrings ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."
- W.E.B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folk
- "History has thrown the colored man out. You look in vain to Bancroft and other historians for justice to the colored. The historian passes it by"
- William Wells Brown in an address at the American Anti-Slavery Society in May 1860, New York. Anti-Slavery Standard, May 26, 1860
- They appeared all to have made considerable progress in reading for the time they had respectively been in the school, and most of them answered readily and well the questions of the catechism. They behaved very orderly, and showed a proper respect and ready obedience to the mistress, and seemed very attentive to, and a good deal affected by, a serious exhoration with which Mister Sturgeon concluded our visit. I was on the whole much pleased, and from what I then saw, have conceived a higher opinion of the natural capacities of the black race, than I had ever before entertained. Their apprehension seems as quick, their memory as strong, and their docility in every respect equal to that of white children.
- Benjamin Franklin, letter to Waring (17 December 1783), after visiting a school, as quoted in The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (March 2002), by H.W. Brands, p. 355.
- We do not even inquire whether a black man is a rebel in arms or not; if he is black, be he friend or foe, he is thought best kept at a distance. It is hardly possible God will let us succeed while such enormities are 'practiced.
- James A. Garfield, regarding slavery (1862), as quoted in Garfield: A Biography (1978), by Allan Peskin, p. 145.
- [N]ature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colors of men.
- One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
- I have a dream: That one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
- Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream (1963)
- I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream — a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.
- Martin Luther King Jr., (11 May 1959) "Address at the Religious Leaders Conference"; Washington, D.C.
- Living with the conditions of slavery and then, later, segregation, the Negroes lost faith in themselves. Many came to feel that perhaps they were inferior. But then something happened to the Negro. Circumstances made it possible and necessary for him to travel more. The coming of the automobile, the upheavals of two world wars, the Great Depression. And so his rural plantation background gradually gave way to urban industrial life. His economic life was gradually rising through the growth of industry, the influence of organized labor, expanded educational opportunities; and even his cultural life was rising through the steady decline of crippling illiteracy. All of these forces conjoined to cause the Negro to take a new look at himself.
Negro masses all over began to reevaluate themselves. The Negro came to feel that he was somebody. His religion revealed to him that God loves all of his children and that all men are made in his image. That the basic thing about a man is not his specificity but his fundamental; not the texture of his hair or the color of his skin, but his eternal dignity and worth. So the Negro can now unconsciously cry out with the eloquent poet: "fleecy locks and black complexion cannot forfeit nature's claim; skin may differ but affection dwells in black and white the same. Were I so tall as to reach the pole or to grasp the ocean and the sand. I must be measured by my soul; the mind is a standard of the man." With this new sense of dignity, this new sense of self respect, a new Negro came into being with a new determination to suffer and struggle and sacrifice in order to be free. So in a real sense we have come a long, long way since 1619.
- The history books, which had almost completely ignored the contribution of the Negro in American history, only served to intensify the Negroes' sense of worthlessness and to augment the anachronistic doctrine of white supremacy. All too many Negroes and whites are unaware of the fact that the first American to shed blood in the revolution which freed this country from Birtish oppression was a black seaman named Crispus Attucks. Negroes and whites are almost totally oblivious of the fact that it was a Negro physician, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed the first successful operation on the heart in America. Another Negro physician, Dr. Charles Drew, was largely responsible for developing the method of separating blood plasma and storing it on a large scale, a process that saved thousands of lives in World War II and has made possible many of the important advances in powstwar medicine. History books have virtually overlooked the many Negro scientists and inventors who have enriched American life. Although a few refer to George Washington Carver, whose research in agricultural products helped to revive the economy of the South when the throne of King Cotton began to totter, they ignore the contribution of Norbert Rillieuz, whose invention of an evaporating pan revolutionized the process of sugar refining. How many people know that multimillio-dollar United Shoe Machinery Company developed from the shoe-lasting machine invented in the last century by a Negro from Dutch Guiana, Jan Matzelinger; or that Granville T. Woods, an expert in electric motors, whose many patents speeded the growth and improvement of the railroads at the beginning of this century, was a Negro?
Even the Negroes' contribution to the music of America is sometimes overlooked in astonishing ways. In 1965 my oldest son and daughter entered an integrated school in Atlanta. A few months later my wife and I were invited to attend a program entitled "Music that has made America great." As the evening unfolded, we listened to the folk songs and melodis of the various immigrant groups. We were certain that the program would end with the most original of all American music, the Negro spiritual. But we were mistaken. Instead, all the students, including our children, ended the program by singing "Dixie".
- Martin Luther King Jr., as quoted in Carson, Clayborne. 2001. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Grand Central Publishing. Cap: Black Power.
- In the struggle for human rights and justice, Negros will make a mistake if they become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns.
- Martin Luther King Jr., Speech delivered in Finney Chapel at Oberlin College (7 February 1957), as reported in "When MLK came to Oberlin" by Cindy Leise (The Chronicle-Telegram; January 21, 2008)
- The non-violent Negro is seeking to create the beloved community. He directs his attack on the forces of evil rather than on individuals. The tensions are not between the races, but between the forces of justice and injustice; between the forces of light and darkness.
- Martin Luther King, speech delivered in Finney Chapel at Oberlin College (February 7, 1957), as reported in "When MLK came to Oberlin" by Cindy Leise (The Chronicle-Telegram; January 21, 2008)
- The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and proximity to the animal stage. Other persons who accept the status of slave do so as a means of attaining high rank, or power, or wealth, as is the case with the Mameluke Turks in the East and with those Franks and Galicians who enter the service of the state [in Spain].
- Ibn Khaldun as quoted in Bernard Lewis, Race and Color in Islam, Harper and Row, 1970, quote on page 38. The brackets are displayed by Lewis.
- ...Negroes are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated, how many white families have lived in stark poverty, how many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we have wasted our energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?
- U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Special Message to the Congress: The American Promise, March 15, 1965
- I want every man to have the chance, and I believe a black man is entitled to it, in which he can better his condition, when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.
- Now, if there is anyone dissatisfied with the fact, that there is a whole race of human beings, with the rights of human beings, created with a skin not colored like our own, let him go mouth the heavens, and mutter his blasphemies in the ear of the God that made us all. Tell him that he had no business to make human beings with a black skin. I repeat, I feel no responsibility for this fact. But, inasmuch as it has pleased God to make them human beings, I am bound to regard them as such. Instead of chattering your gibberish in my ear bout negro equality, go look the son of God in the face and reproach him for favoring negro equality because he poured out his blood for the most abject and despised of the human family. Go settle this matter with the God who created and the Christ who redeemed.
- Owen Lovejoy, speech to the United States Congress (February 1859), as quoted in His Brother's Blood: Speeches and Writings, 1838–64 (2004), edited by William Frederick Moore and Jane Ann Moore, p. 177
- Dealt with a best friend getting killed. It was two 35-year-old black men. Wasn't no police officer involved, wasn't anybody else involved, and I didn't hear anybody shouting 'black lives matter' then. And I think that's the point we need to get to is that we need to deal with our own internal issues before we move forward and start pointing fingers and start attacking other people. We need to solidify ourselves as people and deal with our issues, because I think as long as we have black-on-black crime and, you know, one black man killing another. If black lives matter, then it should matter all the time. You should never let somebody get killed. That's somebody's son, That's somebody's brother; that's somebody's friend. So you should always keep that in mind.
- Richard Sherman, press conference (16 September 2015), as quoted in "Video: Richard Sherman speaks passionately on Black Lives Matter" (16 September 2015), by Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, Seattle, Washington.
- Be confident in your blackness!
- Barack Obama, address at Howard University (May 2016), as quoted in "Obama's full remarks at Howard University commencement ceremony", Politico (7 May 2016)
- We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.
- Malcolm X Interview (January 1965?); quoted in By Any Means Necessary