Make Your Own History

Timeless Truths from Black American Trailblazers

Celebrating the vast breadth and scope of Black excellence, Make Your Own History spotlights the principles of success exemplified by the lives of 120 Black role models who have blazed trails throughout American history.

Make Your Own History gathers together motivational quotes, historical contexts, and enlightening precepts from Black trailblazers spanning the eighteenth century to the present. These insights encompass twelve central themes: courage, self-discipline, compassion, perseverance, teamwork, integrity, industriousness, self-reliance, optimism, purposefulness, civility, and faith. These vigorous virtues will:

  • Deepen your courage through journalist Ida B. Wells’s activism in the face of professional and personal peril
  • Fuel your perseverance through tennis superstar Serena Williams’s journey to 23 Grand Slam singles titles
  • Spark optimism through poet Langston Hughes’s work as an artistic and intellectual catalyst for the Harlem Renaissance

Through these perspectives and so many more, Make Your Own History serves not only as an uplifting historical resource but also as a spiritual road map for the lifelong journey of purposefully setting and meeting personal goals.

The Vigorous Virtues

Daily Success Principles From Diverse American Founders Paperback


The devotional readings re-imagine the history of America, featuring powerful, often-overlooked men and women of all races, backgrounds, and creeds who have made lasting contributions to America’s founding principles.

From Harlem With Love

An Ivy Leaguer's Inner City Odyssey

“An elegant, generous, and provocative spiritual autobiography. Those of us who love Harlem will see much that we prize; those of us who worry about Harlem will confront our shared tribulations; and those of us who care about the value of human witness and courage—ideals that Joseph Holland celebrates in graceful prose—will delight. This is a superb memoir: rich with insight, humor, and self-revelation.”—Kenneth McClane, W. E. B. DuBois Professor of Literature, Cornell University

An inspirational story of a man who turned his back on a life of comfort to comfort others less fortunate. Holland’s decades-long struggle to uplift Harlem is an engaging front-line history of the cultural capital of Black America, as well as an eye-opening story of people left behind and the tough work necessary to save them.” — Geoffrey Canada, Founder, Harlem Children’s Zone

The Touchstone Tools

Building Your Way to an Inspired Life

“In the chapter  ‘Planning—The Pencil: Building Priorities,’ Holland recounts how he began teaching the men about Jesus’ parable of the virgins waiting for the bridegroom. This sounds like a pretty esoteric passage for homeless men, doesn’t it? But one man, Lincoln, shrewdly grasped the nub of the problem: waiting. He told Holland about being on a bus ride that had to take long detours around an accident and for a stop for a medical emergency. So, Lincoln was just sitting and waiting, and he started thinking. It came to him that the roadblocks of life can be overcome just like the bus was doing: by getting back onto the right route, the original plan of action.

As Lincoln explained, his problem in life tended to be reacting to problems without foreseeing what would happen. He hadn’t waited to plan out his action. Then, he observed to Holland that the pencil was his crucial tool for getting his life together.” — Pauline Dolle, A Journey through NYC religions

How Can Joseph Help You Achieve Your Goals?

Joseph’s 40 years of community and business experience have taught him how to overcome adversity and roadblocks to attain great things for the good of others. Joseph would love to help you overcome the stumbling blocks that are keeping you from accomplishing all that you want for your business, community, and yourself.