Quotations about ancestors – literal or figurative ancestors, those who came before us and contributed to making us who we are today.

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Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.

— Linda Hogan

There is beauty in our roots. Sometimes we think our roots are shameful, and people tell you that you’re no good or your ancestors are no good or that you come from a neighborhood of no hope and terrible crime. But it’s about the beauty of those places, and I carry that with me.

— Luis Alberto Urrea

Juneteenth means so much to me. It represents the freedom that my ancestors fought so tirelessly for. But rather than focusing on the brutalization of my people then and now. I choose to focus on hope. June 19th reminds me that I am the force of power to change this world and to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors to work towards liberation.

— Mariah Cooley

A bush with strong roots stands better than a tree with weak ones.

— Matshona Dhliwayo

We need to haunt the house of history and listen anew to the ancestors’ wisdom.

— Maya Angelou

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

— Maya Angelou

Over the years I have met and made friends who believe in different gods. Many of my friends are common Christians. Some are Catholic. And others are born-again Christians. I have a circle of friends who believe in Allah. And others believe in the Hindu gods. I also have a few friends who believe in Bhudda. I have friends who believe in the ancestors. And yes, I have friends who do not believe in any god. They are unwavering atheists. The goal is to accept others without being changeable from my beliefs.

— Mitta Xinindlu

We all stand on the shoulders of our ancestors. We’re in a relay race, relying on the financial and human capital of our parents and grandparents. Blacks were shackled for the early part of that relay race, and although many of the fetters have come off, whites have developed a huge lead.

— Nicholas Kristof

Every man is an omnibus in which his ancestors ride.

— Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.

— Paul Tsonga

Some of my ancestors were religious dissenters who came to America over three hundred years ago. Others were abolitionists in New England in the eighteen forties and fifties.

— Pete Seeger

He that boasts of his ancestors confesses that he has no virtue of his own. No person ever lived for our honor; nor ought that to be reputed ours, which was long before we had a being; for what advantage can it be to a blind man to know that his parents had good eyes? Does he see one whit the better?

— Pierre Charron

It is indeed a desirable thing to be well-descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.

— Plutarch

Some people are your relatives but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values.

— Ralph Ellison

We must strive to become good ancestors.

— Ralph Nader

A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ancestor of every action is a thought.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Man is physical as well as metaphysical, a thing of shreds and patches, borrowed unequally from good and bad ancestors, and a misfit from the start.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are the children of many sires, and every drop of blood in us in its turn betrays its ancestor.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the first half of geological time our ancestors were bacteria. Most creatures still are bacteria, and each one of our trillions of cells is a colony of bacteria.

— Richard Dawkins

Most of our ancestors were not perfect ladies and gentlemen. The majority of them weren’t even mammals.

— Robert Anton Wilson

When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves.

— Russell M. Nelson

it was the kind of moon
that I would want to
send back to my ancestors
and gift to my descendants

so they know that I too,
have been bruised…by beauty.

— Sanober Khan

When we connect with our ancestors and put their wisdom into action, we are evolving our collective consciousness. We are transporting the ancient truths of our collective past and birthing them into our future. What we create out of those truths extends the wisdom of all those who have gone before us, and it provides a guide for all those who will follow.

— Sherri Mitchell Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.

— Shirley Abbott

The sacrifice our ancestors gave yesterday gave us today and our tomorrow.

— Stephen Robert Kuta

Modern invention has banished the spinning wheel, and the same law of progress makes the woman of today a different woman from her grandmother.

— Susan B. Anthony

Frankly, our ancestors don’t seem much to brag about. I mean, look at the state they left us in, with the wars, the broken planet. Clearly, they didn’t care about what would happen to the people who came after them.

— Suzanne Collins

So as you go into battle, remember your ancestors and remember your descendants.

— Tacitus

When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again…. Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

History is the essence of innumerable biographies.

— Thomas Carlyle

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

— Thomas Jefferson

The person who has nothing to brag about but their ancestors is like a potato; the best part of them is underground.

— Thomas Overbury

We must wake up to the insane reality of our time. We are all irresponsible, unless we demand from the responsible decision makers that modern armaments must no longer be made available to people whose former battle axes and swords our ancestors condemned.

— Thor Heyerdahl

If there is just about anything to rejoice it can be my ancestors, African People who survived the atrocity and stain of slavery… I honor them these days with a guarantee that I will keep on to combat for your unexplored desires and hopes.

— Viola Davis

Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.

— Voltaire

Who serves his country well has no need of ancestors.

— Voltaire

The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who… looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space… on the infinite highway of the air.

— Wilbur Wright

I was born by myself but carry the spirit and blood of my father, mother and my ancestors. So I am really never alone. My identity is through that line.

— Ziggy Marley

I am colored but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother’s side was not an Indian chief.

— Zora Neale Hurston
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