The journey to success is rarely a straight path. It’s filled with twists, turns, and obstacles. But wouldn’t it be amazing to have a guiding light, a voice of wisdom to illuminate your way? That’s where mentorship comes in – a powerful force that can propel you forward on your unique path.

Black leaders have a rich history of overcoming challenges and achieving excellence. Their voices hold invaluable insights and inspiration for anyone navigating their own journey. In this collection of quotes, we’ve gathered wisdom from these trailblazers – words that can serve as your personal north star, offering guidance, encouragement, and a renewed sense of purpose.

Remember, success is often about doing common things in uncommon ways, as Booker T. Washington wisely said. And in those moments of doubt, Barack Obama encourages us to take action, reminding us that the best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.

These mentorship quotes by black leaders can be your tools to tackle those obstacles and achieve excellence in your own endeavors. So, dive in, glean inspiration, and let these words empower you to chart your own extraordinary course.

55+ Mentorship Quotes by Black Leaders

Mentorship Quotes from Social Justice & Activism:

  • Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
  • Malcolm X: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

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

  • Audre Lorde: “Your silence will not protect you.”
  • Nelson Mandela: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
  • Michelle Obama: “The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.”

Mentorship Quotes from Entertainment:

  • Shonda Rhimes: “Don’t be afraid of the responsibility to define your own success.”
  • Chadwick Boseman: “When you invest in a seed, watching it grow without you, that is a bitter pill to swallow. But sometimes you have to feel the sting of defeat to push through to greatness.”
  • Ava DuVernay: “If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.”
  • Lena Waithe: “The thing I like most about myself is my voice. It is not soothing. It is not melodic. But it is important.”

Mentorship Quotes by Famous Black Singers:

  • Bob Marley: “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to uplift those around him.”
  • Whitney Houston: “I believe that children are the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.”

Bob Marley :“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

  • Beyoncé: “The key is not to rush. Don’t feel pressured by what other people are doing. Focus on your path, keep moving forward, and trust the journey.”
  • John Legend: “Use your voice for what you believe in. Stand up for something even if it means standing alone.”

Mentorship Quotes from Religion & Spirituality:

  • T.D. Jakes: “Destiny is not for the comfort seekers. Destiny is for the daring and determined who are willing to endure some discomfort, delay gratification, and go where destiny leads.”
  • Toure Roberts: “When you are aligned with your purpose, the world conspires to bring you what you need.”

Sarah Jakes Roberts: “You were not built to break. You were not built to quit. You were built to conquer, built to overcome.”

  • Priscilla Shirer: “God is not interested in what you don’t have. He’s interested in what you do have.”
  • Desmond Tutu: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
  • Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Related Article: 22 Signs You Are Marked for Greatness by God

Mentorship Quotes from Law:

  • Loretta Lynch: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.”
  • Constance Baker Motley: “Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade.”
  • Kamala Harris: “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.”

Mentorship Quotes from Athletics:

  • Serena Williams: “The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up.”
  • Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
  • Wilma Rudolph: “The triumph can’t be had without the struggle.”
  • Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Mentorship Quotes from Writing:

  • James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
  • Zora Neale Hurston: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
  • Maya Angelou: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
  • Toni Morrison: “Your life is an unfolding story of your making.”

Mentorship Quotes from Business:

  • Ursula Burns: “Dreams do come true, but not without the help of others, a good education, a strong work ethic, and the courage to lean in.”

Robert F. Smith: “Be the first. Be the best. Or be different.”

  • Daymond John: “The thing about branding is it isn’t etched in stone, and it can shift over time.”
  • Iyanla Vanzant: “The way to achieve your own success in business is to be willing to help someone else get it first.”

Science & Technology:

  • George Washington Carver: “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”
  • Mae Jemison: “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson: “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”


  • Shirley Chisholm: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
  • Barack Obama: “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.”
  • Cory Booker: “You cannot lead the people if you do not love the people.”

Mentorship Quotes by Black Educators:

Mary McLeod Bethune:

  • “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”
  • “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”

Booker T. Washington:

  • “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

W.E.B. Du Bois:

  • “Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life.”
  • “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

Marva Collins:

  • “Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind.”
  • “Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.”

Carter G. Woodson:

  • “The mere imparting of information is not education.”
  • “Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”
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