8 powerful quotes to kick off Black History Month

Since 1976, every United States president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

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The federally recognized celebration, as then-President Gerald Ford said in 1976, calls for all Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."

Each month also has a theme to go along with it. This year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History announced the theme of “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.”

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As we begin a month-long exploration and appreciation of black history, here are eight quotes from some of our country’s most notable historical figures.

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." — Frederick Douglass

“... history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

— Michelle Obama

“I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

— Rosa Parks

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

— Harriet Tubman

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“The best way to make dreams come true is to wake up.”

— Mae C. Jemison

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

—- Maya Angelou

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

— Malcolm X

More Black History Month coverage on AJC.com.