Black History Month Quotes to Inspire

Left to right: The Honorable Tiffany Williams Brewer ’99, Amy Hudspeth Cabell ’91, Lennox Chase ’98, Senator William “Mo” Cowan ’94, Adriane Dudley ’72, April English ’00, Stesha Emmanuel ’11, Joseph Feaster ’75 and Patrick Parker ’99.

In Honor of Black History Month, Northeastern Law Graduates Share Inspirational Quotes

The Northeastern Law community celebrates the history, contributions and global impact of people of the African diaspora throughout the year in our classrooms, publications and through special lectures and events. In honor of Black History Month, Northeastern Law graduates are invited to share an inspiring quote or some sentiments of your own. If you wish to join our growing list of contributors, please send a quote via email to

To learn more about Northeastern University’s celebration of Black History Month and to view the schedule of events, please visit 

Chair, New Jersey State Commission of Investigation
Co-Pastor, Transform Church Global Ministries
Hometown: Highland Park, New Jersey

“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Quick Facts: 

  • Secretary, Section of Litigation, American Bar Association
  • Former Secretary, Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys
  • Board Member, Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
  • Board Member, Northeastern Law’s Alumni/ae Association Board of Directors
  • Former Vice President, Garden State Bar Association
  • Former Chair, Judicial Council, Garden State Bar Association
  • Former ABA Deputy Representative to the UN
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Young Lawyer of the Year Award, New Jersey State Bar Association
  • African American Alumni Hall of Fame Award, Rutgers University
  • First African American from Middlesex County to be named an Administrative Law Judge
  • First African American appointed to chair the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation

Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Commonwealth Care Alliance
Hometown: Norwell, Massachusetts

“This too shall pass.”

— My aunt used to say this to my mother during difficult times.


Quick Facts:

  • LLM, elder law and estate planning
  • Member, American Health Law Association
  • Member, Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
  • Member, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
  • Advisory Board Member, Northeastern Law’s Center for Health Policy and Law

Founding Attorney, Chase Legal Services
Hometown: Dorchester, Massachusetts

 “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”

— Dr. Mae Jemison


Quick Facts: 

  • Student Mentor, Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO)
  • Mentor, Judge John J. Connelly Youth Center
  • Professional Advisory Network Alumni, Boston Foundation
  • Board Member, Casa Myrna
  • President’s Council, Dimock Community Health Center
  • Board Member, Hale Reservation
  • Board Member, Needham Bank
  • Board Member, Northeastern Law’s Alumni/ae Association Board of Directors
  • Board Member, South Shore Habitat for Humanity
  • Legal Advisor, Storytime Crafts

Chief Legal and External Affairs Officer, Devoted Health
Hometown: Yadkinville,  North Carolina

“Never believe you are better than anyone else but always believe you can be anyone’s equal.”

— Cynthia Cowan


Quick Facts:

  • US Senator, Massachusetts (ret.)
  • Member, US Association of Former Members of Congress
  • Board Member, Goldfinch Bio
  • Advisory Board Member, Eastern Bank
  • Former Member, Northeastern University's Board of Trustees
  • Former President, Northeastern Law’s Alumni/ae Association Board of Directors
  • Former President, Current Member, Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
  • Member, Association of Corporate Counsel
  • Former Director, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • Trustee/Executive Committee, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate
  • Trustee, Massachusetts General Hospital

Founding Partner, Dudley Rich
Hometown St. Thomas, USVI

“Geese flying in formation honk to encourage others to keep up their speed.”

— Author unknown



Quick Facts: 

  • Corporator Emeritus, Northeastern University
  • Former Member, Dean’s International Council, University of Chicago’s School of Public Policy.
  • Former Members, Virgin Island's Governor’s Commission on Children, Youth and Families and the Commission on Youth
  • Volunteer, United Way, Girl Scouts of America, “Big Sisters,” Virgin Island Public Television, the University of the Virgin Islands and the Queen Louise Home for Children

Chief, Organization Development and Inclusion, and Assistant Attorney General, Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey ’98
Hometown: Cambridge, Massachusetts

“Black History is American History and is every day of every year. Let’s celebrate our greatness!”

— April English ’00


Quick Facts: 

  • Former Faculty Member, National Association of Attorneys General Training Institute
  • Community Service Award, Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association
  • Former Law Clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court
  • Former Board Member, Board of Bar Overseers
  • Board Member, YW Boston
  • Board Member, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC)
  • Top Women Of Law 2020 Honoree, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 
  • Most Influential Black Women 2021 Honoree, Get Konnected Boston

Associate, McCarter & English
Hometown: Dorchester, Massachusetts

“I have been in the sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all of the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands.”

— Nora Neale Hurston


Quick Facts:

  • Immediate Past President, Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
  • Board Director, Match Charter Public School
  • Board Member, Northeastern Law’s Alumni/ae Association Board of Directors
  • Former Editorial Board Member, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
  • Former Board Member, Women's Bar Association

Of Counsel, McKenzie & Associates
Hometown: East Elmhurst, New York

“It’s important for us to also understand that the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability.”

— Former President Barack Obama

Quick Facts: 

  • Steering Committee Member, African American Institute (now the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute), Northeastern University
  • President, Northeastern Law’s Black Law Student Association (BLSA) (1972-1975)
  • President, Combined Boston Black American Law Student Association (BALSA)
  • Headed up a NAACP Boston Branch law student initiative to investigate racial complaints at Boston Public Schools, particularly at South Boston High School, during the implementation of school busing in 1974.
  • Past President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Boston Branch
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (ULEM) (2017-present)
  • Corporator Emeritus, Northeastern University

Chief of Staff, Global Wealth Management & President Americas, UBS
Hometown: Milford, Connecticut

“Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

— Former President Barack Obama

Quick Facts: 

  • Member, State Regulation & Legislation Committee, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association
  • Former Member, Litigation Section, American Bar Association
  • Former Member, National Bar Association
  • Former Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Former Member, Litigation Section, Connecticut Bar Association