Black History Month: Quotes for a Lifetime

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By Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, SBR Workplace Leadership Services

According to Universal History Archives, February has been recognized as Black History Month by every U.S. President since 1976.  There are too many powerful influencers who have been instrumental in the growth and development of Black people throughout history to name them all.  However, this article will highlight only a few who have shared lasting thoughts that have created impressions in the fabric of our nation that have stood the test of time.  As it relates to the workplace and all that we, as humans, do in interacting with one another daily, we have learned and continue to learn from these sentiments.

Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history. Carter G. Woodson

Woodson encouraged the process of creating archives.  History will always exist and as long as humankind remains, we will keep creating history with each passing day.  It is of great importance to document as much (tangible and intangible) as we can for future generations who come behind us to learn from and to continue to advance society.

 I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.   Frederick Douglass

Douglass reminds us that being yourself is your best choice.  All too often, there is a pressure to people please and avoid saying “no” even when one is overwhelmed.  However, it is critical to present who you are without the stress of trying to be someone you are not.

You must never be fearful of what you are doing when it is right. Rosa Parks

Parks reminds us that operating in integrity is always the right thing to do.  Even when things are scary and everyone does not agree with you, doing the right thing is the best thing.  Leaning to morals and values that we are taught, such as the Golden Rule (treat others the way you want to be treated), is a good way to measure if one is doing what is right.

Don’t sit down and wait for opportunities to come.  Get up and make them. Madam C. J. Walker

Walker encouraged us to be action oriented.  If you want something done, be the catalyst for the change and make something happen.  One can wait on others to reach your dreams and goals, but you may not reach the full potential that has been purposed for you.  Create your own goals and operate daily to accomplish them by taking action to get there.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King advocated the notion of helping others. When we focus only on oneself, there are limits to what we can do and accomplish but when we focus on helping one another in any way that we are able, we can build, create, grow, develop, empower, and change a nation in ways that one may have thought were impossible.

As we reflect on the greatness of these Black leaders from history, do not stop here in continuing to learn from this group and from others to improve our lives for the foreseeable future and beyond.  SBR Workplace Leadership Services can provide guidance in organizational trainings, executive coaching, and life coaching. Contact SBR Workplace Leadership Services to learn more.



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