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Oprah Winfrey, Duke University's 157th Commencement Ceremony

Source: Sara D. Davis / Getty

Black people have a way with words. Culturally, Africans have always put emphasis on the power of words. And throughout the diaspora, across time and space, words have been used to empower, to survive, and thrive. Sometimes we go through things and we wonder how we’re going to make it. If that’s where you are right now, here are 10 quotes from famous Black women that will inspire you:

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1. What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good. – Maya Angelou

2. When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. – Audre Lorde

3. I am a person who believes in asking questions, in not conforming for the sake of conforming. I am deeply dissatisfied – about so many things, about injustice, about the way the world works – and in some ways, my dissatisfaction drives my storytelling. – Chimamanda Adichie

4. or in the end, freedom is a personal and lonely battle; and one faces down fears of today so that those of tomorrow might be engaged. – Alice Walker

5. As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think. – Toni Morrison

6. I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance. – bell hooks

7. You will be wounded many times in your life. You’ll make mistakes. Some people will call them failures but I have learned that failure is really God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.” It’s just an experience, just an experience. – Oprah Winfrey

8. 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 Park

9. You can fall, but you can rise also. – Angelique Kidjo

10. You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. – Michelle Obama

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10 Quotes From Famous Black Women To Keep You Going When Things Get Tough was originally published on hellobeautiful.com

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