Dr. Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

- Maya Angelou

Rosa Parks

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”

- Rosa Parks

Arthur Ashe

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.

- Arthur Ashe

Jackie Robinson

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.

- Jackie Robinson


I’m the interpreter. I’m the one who takes your words and brings them to life. I was trained to sing and dance and laugh, and that’s what I want to do.

- Aaliyah

Malcolm X

I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.

- Malcolm X

Dizzy Gillespie

I think the idea is now for blacks to write about the history of our music. It’s time for that, because whites have been doing it all the time. It’s time for us to do it ourselves and tell it like it is.

- Dizzy Gillespie

Josephine Baker

All my life, I have maintained that the people of the world can learn to live together in peace if they are not brought up in prejudice.

- Josephine Baker

Nicholas Brothers

If you were black, you experienced (prejudice). It wasn’t a real horrible thing for us; we went through it.

- Nicholas Brothers

Dorothy Dandridge

I can’t play a slave.

- Dorothy Dandridge

Wilma Rudolph

The triumph can’t be had without the struggle.

- Wilma Rudolph

Joe Louis

You need a lot of different people to make the world better.

- Joe Louis

Marian Anderson

None of us is responsible for the complexion of his skin. This fact of nature offers no clue to the character or quality of the person underneath.

- Marian Anderson

Ossie Davis

It is necessary to stay on the march, to be on the journey, to work for peace wherever we are at all times, because the liberty we cherish, which we would share with the world, demands eternal vigilance.

- Ossie Davis

Ruby Dee

The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.

- Ruby Dee

Ntozake Shange

I write for young girls of color, for girls who don’t even exist yet, so that there is something there for them when they arrive. I can only change how they live, not how they think.

- Ntozake Shange

Flip Wilson

My main point is to be funny; if I can slip a message in there, fine.

- Flip Wilson

Oscar Brown, Jr.

Been working and working but I still got so terrible long to go.

- Oscar Brown, Jr.

Those who helped make a difference

Benny Goodman

Benny‌ ‌Goodman‌ ‌was‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌musicians‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌an‌ ‌interacial‌ ‌band.‌ ‌He‌ ‌‌was‌ ‌instrumental‌ ‌in‌ ‌giving‌ ‌African-Americans‌ ‌a‌ ‌chance‌ ‌to‌ ‌shine‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌performer‌ ‌in‌ ‌his‌ ‌band‌ ‌when‌ ‌nearly‌ ‌all‌ ‌music‌ ‌groups‌ ‌were‌ ‌segregated‌ ‌and‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌perform‌ ‌together.‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Goodman‌ ‌chose‌ ‌African-American‌ ‌Lionel‌ ‌Hampton‌ ‌as‌ ‌his‌ ‌vibraphonist ‌in‌ ‌his‌ ‌jazz‌ ‌trio‌ ‌and‌ ‌from‌ ‌there,‌ ‌he‌ ‌added‌ ‌more‌ ‌and‌ ‌more‌ ‌African-Americans.‌ ‌‌This‌ ‌was‌ ‌groundbreaking‌ ‌not‌ ‌only‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌music‌ ‌industry,‌ ‌but‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌world‌ ‌in‌ ‌general.‌ ‌He‌ ‌knew‌ ‌that‌ ‌music‌ ‌is‌ the‌ ‌universal‌ ‌language‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌arts‌ ‌and‌ ‌nothing‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌a‌ ‌musician’s‌ ‌talent‌ ‌was‌ ‌important.‌ ‌One‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌pivotal‌ ‌points‌ ‌in‌ ‌musical‌ ‌history‌ ‌was‌ ‌Benny‌ ‌Goodman’s‌ ‌1938‌ ‌Carnegie‌ ‌Hall‌ ‌performance‌ ‌which‌ ‌was‌ ‌unlike‌ ‌any‌ ‌other‌ ‌before.‌  ‌Jazz‌ ‌was‌ ‌brought‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌main‌ stage‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌collaboration‌ ‌of‌ ‌black‌ ‌and‌ ‌white‌ ‌musicians‌ ‌playing‌ ‌together‌ ‌to‌ ‌create‌ ‌a‌ ‌historical‌ ‌performance‌ ‌and‌ ‌recording.‌  ‌Just‌ ‌like‌ ‌black‌ ‌and‌ ‌white‌ ‌keys‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌piano,‌ ‌the‌ ‌black‌ ‌and‌ ‌white‌ ‌musicians‌ ‌played‌ ‌together‌ ‌in‌ ‌perfect‌ ‌harmony.‌ ‌Only‌ ‌the‌ ‌music‌ ‌mattered,‌ ‌not‌ ‌the‌ ‌color‌ ‌of‌ ‌skin.

Alan Freed

Alan Freed was instrumental in getting African-Americans rhythm and blues records to be played on the airwaves of a major radio station, WJW in Cleveland. This opened the door to audiences who were not familiar with the music at the time.

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