Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou ( April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.

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My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Have enough courage to trust love one more time. And always one more time.

A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.

What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

I've learned that no matter what happens or how bad it seems today life does go on and it will be better tomorrow.

The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.

I can be changed by what happens to me. but i refuse to be reduced by it.

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else you will have succeeded.

Regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.

We are only as blind as we want to be.

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.

Determine to live life with flair and laughter.

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.

Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.

I sustain myself with the love of family.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.

You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated.

I believe that each of us comes from the creator trailing wisps of glory.

Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.

Faith is the evidence of the unseen.

If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.

A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I'm with you kid. Let's go."

I believe that every person is born with talent.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

Let nothing dim the light that shines from within.

You rose into my life like a promised sunrise, brightening my days with the light in your eyes. I've never been so strong. Now I'm where I belong.

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.

We need much less than we think we need.

I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.

My mother raised me, and then freed me.

To grow up is to stop putting blame on parents.

Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.

The sadness of the women's movement is that they don't allow the necessity of love. See, I don't personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.

Mrs. Parks is for me probably what the Statute of Liberty was for immigrants. She stood for the future and the better future.

All God's children need traveling shoes.

The honorary duty of a human being is to love.

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.

There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.

In all the world there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world there is no love for you like mine.

The need for change bulldozed road down the center of my mind.

Anyone of us can be a rainbow in somebody's clouds.

Here on the pulse of this new day, You may have the grace to look up and out, And into your sister's eyes into, Your brother's face your country, And say simply, Very simply, With hope, Good Morning.

Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.

It is only out of ignorance that people are cruel because they really don't think it will come back.

Everything has rhythm. everything dances.

For Africa to me... is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going, unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.

I am a woman, phenomenally phenomenal woman, that is your grandmother, that is your mother, that is your sister, that is you and that is me.

There is an amazing something in the American psyche which speaks about courage and it says 'Yes I can '... Yes we will overcome it all because we have the spirit to do so.

In all my work what I try to say is that as human beings we are more alike than we are unalike.

Lift up your eyes upon. This day breaking for you. Give birth again. To the dream.

The horizon leans forward offering you space to place new steps of change.

At fifteen, life had taught me undeniably that surrender in its place was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

I want to see freedom and equality through my eyes and your eyes, Coretta Scott King. I opened my mouth to the lord and I won't turn back no!

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands, you need to be able to throw something back.

When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity, happiness... all the good things.

I am serious, so I laugh a lot. You need to laugh. You don't laugh enough. I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh.

I answer the heroic question "Death where is they sting?" with "It is here in my heart and mind and memories."

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you.

Each of us has that right that possibility to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself she will be invented. So to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.

While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation.

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.

The main thing in one's own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.

Look at my life. I'm floating like mercury around the earth. My footprints shine with stardust. All because I love you. All because you love me.

Courage allows the successful woman to fail, and learn powerful lessons from the failure, so that in the end she didn't fail at all.

See, you don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you'll do it without thinking.

Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible, and live long lives.

When it looked like the sun wasn't going to shine any more, there's a rainbow in the clouds.

I believe the most important single thing beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.

Most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise.

The future is plump with promise.

She cherished her race. She cherished women. She cared for gay and straight people. She prayed nightly for Palestine and equally for Israel.

I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.

Some critics will write 'Maya Angelou is a natural writer' - which is right after being a natural heart surgeon.

It's bleak, because I can't - many of us can't - hear her sweet voice, but it's great because she did live and she was ours. I mean African-Americans and white Americans and Asians Spanish-speaking - she belonged to us and that's a great thing.

Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence - neither speed up nor slow down, add to, nor diminish - it is an imponderably valuable gift.

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry ,and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter what their color.

I suggest that the great art belongs to all people all the time - that indeed it is made for the people, by the people, to the people.

The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear.

I was thinking about that, about the journeys in the film, journey to the roots, journey to the heart. We're all on journeys.

You can write me down in history with hateful twisted lies, you can tread me in this very dirt, but still like dust I'll rise.

It is not the answer you look for that makes you strong. It's the ways that you take that define who you are and what you can do.

Just as hope rings through laughter it can also shine through tears.

My life has been one great big joke, a dance that's walked, a song that's spoke. I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think about myself.

There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic, because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.

All great achievements require time.

God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us, in the dreariest and most dreaded moments, can see a possibility of hope.

I'm not going anywhere. I came here to say something and I'm not leaving until I'm finished.

It is the worst thing you can do, women, is whine... I mean the worst. Don't complain, protest.

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

You can't be consistently fair, consistently generous, consistently just, or consistently merciful. You can be anything erratically, but to be that thing time after time after time you have to have courage.

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!

Life is a gift and i try to respond with grace and courtesy

Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says "I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway."

Listen carefully to what country people call mother wit. In those homely sayings are couched the collective wisdom of generations.

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.

As far as I knew, white women were never lonely, except in books. White men adored them, Black men desired them and Black women worked for them.

At the worst of times there's the possibility of seeing hope... That's why that song is so important right now.

I speak to the black experience but I am always talking about the human condition - about what we can endure, dream, fail at, and still survive.

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.

Some of us are timid. We think we have something to lose so we don't try for that next hill.

Education helps one case cease being intimidated by strange situations.

Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening.   

Black women have not historically stood in the pulpit, but that doesn't undermine the fact that they built the churches and maintain the pulpits.

Effective action is always unjust.

The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.

I have found that, among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you, yet someone survived!

Kudos to the educators, athletes, dancers, judges, janitors, politicians, artists, actors, writers, singers, poets and social activist, to all who dare to look at like with humor, determination and respect

We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

Nothing will work unless you do.

Love life, engage in it, give it all you've got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back many times over what you put into it.

Love builds up the broken wall and straigtens the crooked path. Love keeps the stars in the firmament and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides. Each of us is created of it and I suspect each of us was created for it.

This is my life. It is my one time to be me. I want to experience every good thing.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. Please remember that your difficulties do not define you. They simply strengthen your ability to overcome.

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance, but understanding of illiteracy. That some people unable to go to school were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination, full of hope.

I try to live what I consider a "poetic existence." That means I take responsibility for the air I breathe and the space I take up. I try to be immediate to be totally present for all my work.

Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.

I do not trust people who don't love themselves and yet tell me 'I love you'. There is an African saying which is: 'Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt'.

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry, to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.

Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.

Living a life is like constructing a building: if you start wrong you'll end wrong.

The thorn from the bush one has planted, nourished and pruned, pricks more deeply and draws more blood.

Her passion was never spent in public display.

We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.

Then I went back to my mother when I was 13 and she was ready for me.

I believe we are still so innocent. The species are still so innocent that a person who is apt to be murdered believes that the murderer, just before he puts the final wrench on his throat, will have enough compassion to give him one sweet cup of water.

Some people unable to go to school were more educated and even more intelligent than college professors.

When we cast our bread upon the waters we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor's gift.

Life loves the liver of it.

If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.

One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it.

Alone all alone, Nobody but nobody, Can make it out here alone.

I find it interesting that the meanest life the poorest existence is attributed to God's will but as human beings become more affluent as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale God descends the scale of responsibility

Had I not had my grandmother who dared to be my rainbow in the clouds, I would have been just another sexually abused barefoot black girl on the roads of Arkansas.

I believe talent is like electricity. We don't understand electricity. We use it. You can plug into it and light up a lamp, keep a heart pump going, light a cathedral, or you can electrocute a person with it. Electricity will do all that.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Of all the needs (there are none imaginary) a lonely child has the one that must be satisfied if there is going to be hope, and a hope of wholeness is the unshaken need for an unshakable God.

Achievement brings its own anticlimax.

A bizarre sensation pervades a relationship of pretense. No truth seems true. A simple morning's greeting and response appear loaded with innuendo and fraught with implications. Each nicety becomes more sterile and each withdrawal more permanent.

There is something more - the spirit or the soul. I think that that quality encourages our courtesy and care and our minds. And mercy and identity.

Those of us who have gathered here... we owe something from this minute on so this gathering is not just another footnote on the pages of history.

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

When a man tells you who he is... believe him.

I don't ever feel I have no help. I've had rainbows in my clouds. And the thing to do it seems to me is to prepare yourself so that you can be a rainbow in somebody else's cloud.

I said 'Don't worry about it - I know our culture.'

You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better you did better.

Something made greater by ourselves and in turn that makes us greater.

All of childhood's unanswered questions must finally be passed back to the town and answered there. Heroes and bogey men values and dislikes are first encountered and labeled in that early environment. In later years they change faces places and maybe races tactics intensities and goals but beneath those penetrable masks they wear forever the stocking-capped faces of childhood.

She was a sister-friend to me, we called each other 'children sisters.' She was a great wife, obviously, and a wonderful mother, and a great woman, a great American. When I think of great Americans, she's one of the people I think of.

I know you very well and I know you need a good English teacher.

Self-pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.

He loved her... she can be talking to me about regular things, but when she mentions Martin her voice always falls a little bit and you can sense the intimacy... The sweetness of that relationship was always evident.

I am overwhelmed by the grace and persistence of my people.