Black Family Pledge


The Black Family Pledge is a personal oath one makes with himself/herself. It encourages us to take a deeper look at what is believed, understood and put into action. Words are only the first step . . . the easiest step. Converting those words into meaningful energy and performance, is what makes the difference. This Pledge was written by Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou wrote the Black Family Pledge.

Black Family Pledge

by Dr. Maya Angelou

Because we have forgotten our ancestors, our children no longer give us honor,

Because we have lost the path of our ancestors cleared, kneeling in perilous undergrowth, our children cannot find their way,

Because we have banished the God of our ancestors, our children cannot pray,

Because the long wails of our ancestors have faded beyond our hearing, our children cannot hear us crying,

Because we have abandoned our wisdom of mothering and fathering, our befuddled children give birth to children they neither want nor understand.

Because we have forgotten how to love, the adversary is within our gates, and holds us up to the mirror of the world, shouting regard the loveless.


Let's free the inner self and demonstrate the black family pledge.

Therefore, we pledge to bind ourselves again to one another:

To embrace our lowliest,

To keep company with our loneliest,

To educate our illiterate,

To feed the starving,

To clothe our ragged,

To do all good things, knowing that we are more than keepers of our brothers and sisters.  We are our brothers and sisters.

In honor of those who toiled an implored God with golden tongues, and in gratitude to the same God who brought us out of hopeless desolation,

We make this pledge.

This book honors the black family pledge.  It is an American story that digs deep and demands the best of each of us.

There is another pledge that every American citizen should make: The commitment of allegiance to the United States of America. That promise says we are “one nation.” The words are beautiful, but never in the history of this country, have we honored them totally. Let us keep moving forward.

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