1. Maya Angelou
In one of Angelou’s most popular poems, she writes about the struggles of overcoming injustice and adversity. Still I Rise is an anthem, a beacon of hope, and we hope you remember that you too, will rise.
2. Roxane Gay
A champion of feminism, intersectionality, equality, and more, Gay has produced works of nonfiction like Bad Feminist to novels like An Untamed State. Again and again, Gay reminds readers that they have a voice and they have the ability to change the world.
3. Langston Hughes
These lines come from Hughes’ poem, “Harlem,” which he wrote in 1951. To this day, it remains one of the most influential poems of the 20th century as it discusses what it means to defer a dream. Hughes understood the value of dreams – whatever your dream may be, know that’s a valid one, and we hope you continue to pursue it.
4. Lorraine Hansberry
Inspired by Langston Hughes, Hansberry wrote the manuscript for A Raisin in the Sun – which portrays an African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s – before she was 30 years old. It was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway and earned her the New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award. She was the first Black playwright and the youngest person to win the honor.
5. Zora Neale Hurston
Zora was a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance movement and was the first African American to study at Barnard College. Known for her collection of African American folklore, she portrayed racial struggles in her novels Mules and Men and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
6. Lisa Nicols
Author of Abundance Now and No Matter What, Nicols is a motivational speaker inspiring others to be encouraged and empowered to be their best selves.
7. Toni Morrison
This particular quote comes from Morrison’s Beloved, a novel inspired by the life of Margaret Garner – an African American who escaped slavery in Kentucky in 1856 by crossing into Ohio, a free state. Morrison later won the Nobel Prize in Literature and was described by being someone “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”
8. Angie Thomas
Thomas’ debut novel, The Hate U Give, follows 16-year-old Starr Carter, who has her world turned upside down after she witnesses the fatal shooting of a childhood friend. As Thomas writes in the above quote, your life matters, and we hope this is something you never forget. Use your voice. Take up space. Because you matter, friend.