Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Black History Month: 10 all-time quotes from Black athletes that show Black fearlessness.

February 20, 2020 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) It was the great writer and social critic James Baldwin who once mentioned that, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious, is to be in a rage almost all the time.” The long history of black people fighting against and speaking out against oppression in America extends beyond luminaries like Baldwin and includes athletes as well. Since February is Black History Month, here are ten of the most powerful quotes from Black athletes that displayed unapologetic blackness in the quote:

-“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me—black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”-Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, 1967

-“Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”-Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, 1972

-“Not only am I tall enough to make a lot of people uncomfortable but I am also black, and infamous as an athlete.”-Boston Celtics great Bill Russell, 1979

– “The purpose of this notice is to speak on behalf of poor people, Native Americans, homeless and most specifically, African-Americans who are not able to come to this great edifice. . . . Being a descendant of African slaves, I feel it is very important our plight be put on the list of priorities.”-Chicago Bulls guard Craig Hodges, 1992

– “I went up there as a dignified black man and said: ‘What’s going on is wrong,’”-Olympic sprinter John Carlos of 1968 Olympics Black Power salute, 2008

– “This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.”-2016 Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Simone Manuel, 2016

-“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, 2016

– “At the time, they were not about to bathe a Black woman in glory. It would give us too much power, wouldn’t it?”-1964 and 1968 Olympic gold medal winning sprinter Wyomia Tyus, 2018

-“I’ll put it this way – next year will be 2019. It will mark 400 years since the first slaves touched the soil in this country. That’s 400 years of systemic oppression. That’s slavery, Jim Crow, New Jim Crow, mass incarceration – you name it. The Great Depression, they come out with the New Deal. Black people didn’t have access to those government stimulus packages. The New Deal set up what is known as the modern day middle class. We didn’t have access to those programs – the G.I. Bill, Social Security, home loans, none of that. So this has been happening since my people have gotten here. So I just felt the need to say something about it.”-Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, 2018

-“Venus and I started out being successful, continued to be successful, and we were also unapologetically ourselves. We were not afraid to wear braids. We weren’t afraid to be Black in tennis. And that was different.”-Tennis legend Serena Williams, 2019

Staff Writer; Mark Hines


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