Popular African American Proverbs and Quotes

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Popular African American Proverbs

Popular African American proverbs and quotes are wise sayings and insightful words that have been passed down through the years. They often capture the struggles, experiences, and wisdom of the African American community. These proverbs and quotes are necessary because they deliver valuable life lessons, inspire resilience, and reflect the rich cultural heritage of African Americans. Let’s take an example “There Is No Beauty But the Beauty of Action”, which

emphasises that true beauty is found in actions rather than appearances or words. Keep reading the blog to know more about such proverbs.

Also read: 100+ Common Proverbs with Meaning and Examples

Let’s explore some popular African American proverbs and their meanings in specific terms, showing the richness of their cultural heritage and the enduring lessons they impart to society.

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

Popular African American Proverbs
Meaning: “It takes a village to raise a child,” tells that a child’s upbringing and development require the support and involvement of the entire community, not just the parents. It highlights the importance of collective responsibility in nurturing and guiding children.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

Popular African American Proverbs
Meaning: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” means don’t assume you will get something or succeed until it actually happens.

“A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”

"A closed mouth doesn't get fed."
Meaning: “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed” suggests that if you don’t speak up or ask for what you need, you won’t get it. It’s about the importance of voicing your needs and desires to achieve your goals.

“What goes around comes around.”

Meaning: “What goes around comes around” indicates that your actions, whether good or bad, will eventually come back to affect you. If you do good things, good things will happen to you; if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you.

“When you know better, you do better.”

Meaning: “When you know better, you do better” signifies that once you gain more knowledge or understanding, you should improve your actions and make better choices.

Also Read: 19+ Ancient Chinese Proverb You Must Know!

10 Popular African American Proverbs That You Grew Up Hearing

Growing up, you have probably heard many wise sayings and proverbs from African American culture. Let’s explore some of the popular proverbs and what they mean in simple terms. Here are a few of the popular proverbs and their meanings:

It’s about that time…”“It’s about that time” means that the time has arrived to do something that was planned or expected. It’s a way of indicating that the moment has come to start an activity or event.
“No shade, but..”The proverb “No shade, but…” is a way of saying “I’m not trying to criticize or insult, but…” It’s often used before giving an honest opinion that might be seen as negative or critical.
“I am blessed and highly favoured.”“I am blessed and highly favoured” suggests that someone feels very fortunate and believes they are receiving special favour or kindness, often implying that they are experiencing good things or positive outcomes in their life.
“I’m a little sick, so bear with me as I sing this song…”“I’m a little sick, so bear with me as I sing this song…” implies the person is feeling unwell but still wants to give their best effort and is asking for patience and understanding from others.
“Girl, have several seats.”“Girl, have several seats” is a casual and sometimes humorous way to tell someone to calm down, stop being dramatic, or to be quiet. It implies that the person should take a break and rethink their behaviour or statements.
“You better go on somewhere with that!”“You better go on somewhere with that!” suggests that someone should stop what they are doing or saying and leave. It’s a way of telling someone to take their nonsense or unwelcome behaviour elsewhere.
“Black don’t crack, and brown don’t frown.”“Black don’t crack, and brown don’t frown” implies that people with darker skin tones often show fewer signs of ageing, such as wrinkles (black don’t crack), and tend to maintain a more youthful appearance and positive demeanour (brown don’t frown).
“What y’all cooking/ eating over there?”“What y’all cooking/ eating over there?” is a casual way of asking someone what they are preparing or eating. It often implies curiosity about what someone else is having for a meal, usually in a friendly or informal context.
“All shut eye ain’t sleep.”“All shut eye ain’t sleep” signifies that just because someone has their eyes closed doesn’t necessarily mean they are sleeping. It suggests that appearances can be deceiving, and things are not always what they seem.
“You better eat while “You better eat while the food is on the table” indicates that you should take advantage of opportunities or enjoy what you have now, because circumstances may change in the future. It emphasises the importance of seizing the moment and making the most of present opportunities before they disappear.

Also read: 9+ Proverbs Starting with B You Must Keep in Mind

Quotes by popular African Americans, as mentioned in the table, encourage us to dream big, act with goodness, and fight for a better world. By exploring these quotes, we can gain an understanding of their viewpoints and be motivated to make positive changes in our own lives and communities. Here are some popular quotes by global leaders belonging to the African American community:

QuotesSpoken By
“The time is always right to do what is right.”Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”Maya Angelou
“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”Michelle Obama
“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.”Booker T. Washington
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”Frederick Douglass
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We hope this blog on popular African American proverbs is inspiring for you. To advance your grammar knowledge and read more informative blogs, check out our Learn English page and don’t forget to follow Leverage Edu.

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