Amnesty International

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Text on Button It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. -Eleanor Roosevelt
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Black illustration of a lit candle wrapped in barbed wire and black text on an amber colored background.

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Badge A Minit 800-223-1103

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Some people attribute Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, for coming up with the saying, "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." It refers to the notion that when someone finds themself in a difficult situation, don’t complain about it. Instead, one should take actions to overcome and improve the situation.

This phrase has also been attributed to Chinese proverbs or Confucius. These, however, are misattributes. The oldest written usage is from W. L. Watkinson's sermon 'The Invincible Strategy' collected in 1907 in The Supreme Conquest.

Amnesty International is a global organization campaigning for human rights around the world. Their logo is a candle with a wire around it. They have adopted the phrase, "better to light a candle than curse the darkness," as their brand motto. The organization also predominantly uses the bright color yellow to spread their message. Amnesty International is a non-profit based in England and Wales.


Everhappygirl. (2004). It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Discuss. - WriteWork. Retrieved 11 November 2021, from…

Watkinson, W. (1907). The Supreme Conquest. Retrieved 11 November 2021, from…

Who We Are. Retrieved 11 November 2021, from

Catalog ID CA0868