Maya Angelou Quotes

Maya Angelou (4 April, 1928 – 28 May, 2014), born Marguerite Annie Johnson, was an African-American poet, author, memoirist, actress, director, producer, writer, singer, dancer, and civil rights activist.

Search and read through for some of Angelou’s most inspiring and uplifting quotes.

See also: Maya Angelou, Maya Angelou’s Poems,

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.

Maya Angelou Quotes

I got my own back. – Maya Angelou

Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou

Only equals can become friends. – Maya Angelou

All great achievements require time. – Maya Angelou

Effective action is always unjust. – Maya Angelou

Only equals can become friends. – Maya Angelou

Whining is just unbecoming. – Maya Angelou

I know why the caged bird sings. – Maya Angelou

Everybody is worth everything. – Maya Angelou

We are only as blind as we want to be. – Maya Angelou

Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. – Maya Angelou

When you get give. When you learn teach. – Maya Angelou

Achievement brings its own anticlimax. – Maya Angelou

Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant. – Maya Angelou

The needs of society determine its ethics. – Maya Angelou

When you learn, teach, when you get, give. – Maya Angelou

We need much less than we think we need. – Maya Angelou

When I decided to speak, I had a lot to say. – Maya Angelou

Your belief and your work will speak for you. – Maya Angelou

I believe that every person is born with talent. – Maya Angelou

Let me float across the sky ’til I can rest again. – Maya Angelou

The honorary duty of a human being is to love. – Maya Angelou

A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face. – Maya Angelou

Nobody can enjoy unless we all enjoy, truly enjoy. – Maya Angelou

 To grow up is to stop putting blame on parents. – Maya Angelou

Nothing can dim the light that shines from within. – Maya Angelou

I created myself. I have taught myself so much. – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

If someone shows you who they really are, believe them. – Maya Angelou

I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me. – Maya Angelou

You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody. – Maya Angelou

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. – Maya Angelou

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

The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind. – Maya Angelou

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

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

I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it. – Maya Angelou

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. – Maya Angelou

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

The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise. – Maya Angelou

You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been. – Maya Angelou

Take your time to read those. They are deep. (I personally re-read them a few times!) – Maya Angelou

You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. – Maya Angelou

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

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. – Maya Angelou

I believe that each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory.  – Maya Angelou

Nothing succeeds like success. Get a little success, and then just get a little more. – Maya Angelou

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. – Maya Angelou

Education helps one case cease being intimidated by strange situations. – Maya Angelou

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

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

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

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

There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth. – Maya Angelou

When was the last time anyone told you how important you are? – Maya Angelou

Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God. – Maya Angelou

Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. – Maya Angelou

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

A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her. – Maya Angelou

I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare. – Maya Angelou

Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else. – Maya Angelou

Grace is like a lake of drinkable water right outside your door. But you stay inside and die of thirst. – Maya Angelou

We are not just flesh and blood. And our hungers are not going to be set aside as just flesh and blood. – Maya Angelou

If you want what you’re saying heard, then take your time and say it so that the listener will actually hear it. You might save somebody’s life. Your own, first. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

The children to whom we read simple stories may or may not show gratitude, but each boon we give strengthens the pillars of the world. – Maya Angelou

When you know you are of worth — not asking it but knowing it — you walk into a room with a particular power. – Maya Angelou

When you know you are of worth, you don’t have to raise your voice, you don’t have to become rude, you don’t have to become vulgar; you just are. And you are like the sky is, as the air is, the same way water is wet. It doesn’t have to protest. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

My great blessing is my son, but I have daughters. I have white ones and Black ones and fat ones and thin ones and pretty ones and plain. I have gay ones and straight. I have daughters. I have Asian ones, I have Jewish ones, I have Muslim ones. – Maya Angelou

Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it! – Maya Angelou

I was told many years ago by my grandmother who raised me: If somebody puts you on a road and you don’t feel comfortable on it and you look ahead and you don’t like the destination and you look behind and you don’t want to return to that place, step off the road. – Maya Angelou

My work is to be honest. My work is to try to think clearly, then have the courage to make sure that what I say is the truth. – Maya Angelou

I not only have the right to stand up for myself, but I have the responsibility. I can’t ask somebody else to stand up for me if I won’t stand up for myself. And once you stand up for yourself, you’d be surprised that people say, “Can I be of help?”. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. – Maya Angelou

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

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

I like to go back and read poems that I wrote fifty years ago, twenty years ago, and sometimes they surprise me – I didn’t know I knew that then. Or maybe I didn’t know it then, and I know more now. – Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that forgiving is one of the greatest gifts that I can give myself. – Maya Angelou

A leader sees greatness in other people. He nor she can be much of a leader if all she sees is herself. – Maya Angelou

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

All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened. – Maya Angelou

You only are free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great. – Maya Angelou

The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. – Maya Angelou

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

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

It’s very important to know the neighbor next door and the people down the street and the people in another race. – Maya Angelou

On what she feels about the world today: I feel very hopeful, very expectant. I’m looking forward to it. – Maya Angelou

We need to not be in denial about what we’ve done, what we’ve come through. It will help us if we all do that. – Maya Angelou

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

My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. – Maya Angelou

I want all my senses engaged. Let me absorb the world’s variety and uniqueness. – Maya Angelou

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

We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains, or swim the oceans — because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. – Maya Angelou

My dear, when people show you who they are, why don’t you believe them? Why must you be shown 29 times before you can see who they really are? Why can’t you get it the first time? – Maya Angelou

  • Oprah Winfrey’s paraphrase: When people show you who they are, believe them.

I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me “I love you.” … There is an African saying which is: “Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” – Maya Angelou

While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man’s humanity to man. – Maya Angelou

The truth is very important. No matter how negative it is, it is imperative that you learn the truth, not necessarily the facts. I mean, that, that can come, but facts can stand in front of the truth and almost obscure the truth. It is imperative that students learn the truth of our history. – Maya Angelou

My equipment tends to be that of a social humanitarian and a poet, which I suppose is the same thing, and I tend to watch how people are. – Maya Angelou

In the 16th century, Niccolò Machiavelli – in an attempt to get back in the good graces of the powerful – wrote a slim volume called The Prince. In that book he showed the powers that be how to control the people. That book is a statement: separate and rule, divide and conquer. That’s five hundred years ago and it still works, because we allow ourselves to be lead around with holes through our noses. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

I wish that we could look into each other’s faces, in each other’s eyes, and see our own selves. I hope that the children have not been so scarred by their upbringing that they only think fear when they see someone else who looks separate from them. – Maya Angelou

I pray for humility because that comes from inside out. And what humility does for one, is it reminds us that there are people before me. I have already been paid for. And what I need to do is prepare myself so that I can pay for someone else who has yet to come, but who may be here and needs me. – Maya Angelou

This is what I am learning, at 82 years old: the main thing is to be in love with the search for truth. – Maya Angelou

I believe what I have to say is important, and I believe the people coming to hear me are important, and so the occasion of itself alone has an importance, which forces me to stare down my nerves. – Maya Angelou

I like to speak on matters which matter to human beings, and almost everything matters to human beings. – Maya Angelou

The root cause of all the problems we have in the world today is ignorance of course. But most, polarization. – Maya Angelou

It is better to control oneself, if one can, and not hit back. But on certain occasions, it is imperative to defend oneself. I don’t think it’s fair to ask anybody not to defend herself or himself. – Maya Angelou

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

Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. – Maya Angelou

The truth is, right may not be expedient. It may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. – Maya Angelou

My heart is so heavy when I see the reality of the Indian reservation and as an American, I know I am, too, responsible. – Maya Angelou

People trying to separate people rather than bring us together… please. You don’t just see it in America. It’s all over the world. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

You did in your twenties what you knew how to do, and when you knew better you did better. And you should not be judged for the person that you were, but for the person that you’re trying to be and the woman that you are now. – Maya Angelou

All information belongs to everybody all the time. It should be available. It should be accessible to the child, to the woman, to the man, to the old person, to the semiliterate, to the presidents of universities, to everyone. It should be open. – Maya Angelou

You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it. – Maya Angelou

Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you… yet, someone survived… You can do anything you choose to do. – Maya Angelou

When I forgive other people, I let them go, I free them from my ignorance. And as soon as I do, I feel lighter, brighter and better. – Maya Angelou

Look what you’ve already come through! Don’t deny it. You’ve already come through some things, which are very painful. If you’ve been alive until you’re 35, you have gone through some pain. It cost you something. And you’ve come through it. So at least look at that. And have a sense to look at yourself and say, “Well, wait a minute. I’m stronger than I thought I was. – Maya Angelou

I’m really saddened by the attempts to separate and polarize. This is a time when we have hungry people, people out of work, and people out of spirit. This is a time where we need to uplift, not to separate. – Maya Angelou

If a human being dreams a great dream, dares to love somebody; if a human being dares to be Martin King, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Mother Theresa, or Malcolm X; if a human being dares to be bigger than the condition into which she or he was born – it means so can you. And so you can try to stretch, stretch, stretch yourself so you can internalize, ‘Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto. I am a human being, nothing human can be alien to me.’ That’s one thing I’m learning. – Maya Angelou

I am a Woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal Woman, that’s me. – Maya Angelou

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

I couldn’t tell fact from fiction, or if the dream was true. My only sure prediction in this world was you. I’d touch your features inchly. Beard love and dared the cost. The sented spiel reeled me unreal and I found my senses lost. – Maya Angelou

We need joy as we need air. We need love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share. – Maya Angelou

When my bones are stiff and aching, and my feet won’t climb the stair, I will only ask one favor: don’t bring me no rocking chair. When you see me walking, stumbling, don’t study and get it wrong. ‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy and every goodbye ain’t gone. I’m the same person I was back then, a little less hair, a little less chin, a lot less lungs and much less wind. But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in. – Maya Angelou

Just do right. Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that bodyguards can’t give you. So try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity. Take up the battle. Take it up. It’s yours. This is your life. This is your world. – Maya Angelou

Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise. Up from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise. I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide. Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear, I rise. Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear, I rise. 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

I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too. – Maya Angelou

It is a no-fail, incontrovertible reality: If you get, give. If you learn, teach. You can’t do anything with that except do it. – Maya Angelou

There’s something which impels us to show our inner souls. The more courageous we are, the more we succeed in explaining what we know.  – Maya Angelou

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

I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life. – Maya Angelou

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

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. – Maya Angelou

I did then what I knew best, when I knew better, I did better. – Maya Angelou

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

Let nothing dim the light that shines from within. – Maya Angelou

I find relief from the questions only when I concede that I am not obliged to know everything. I remind myself it is sufficient to know what I know, and that what I know, may not always be true. – Maya Angelou

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

Remember, people will judge you by your actions not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold but so does a hard-boiled egg. – Maya Angelou

I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music. – Maya Angelou

No human being can be more human than another human being. I liberate you from my ignorance.” ― Maya Angelou

All knowledge is spendable currency, depending on the market. – Maya Angelou

Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it. – Maya Angelou

Take a day to heal from the lies you’ve told yourself and the ones that have been told to you. – Maya Angelou

If you’re a human being, you can attempt to do what other human beings have done. We don’t understand talent any more than we understand electricity. – Maya Angelou

In all my work, in the movies I write, the lyrics, the poetry, the prose, the essays, I am saying that we may encounter many defeats – maybe it’s imperative that we encounter the defeats – but we are much stronger than we appear to be and maybe much better than we allow ourselves to be. – Maya Angelou

Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay. – Maya Angelou

I’m always disappointed when people don’t live up to their potential. I know that a number of people look down on themselves and consequently on everybody who looks like them. But that, too, can change. – Maya Angelou

If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be. – Maya Angelou

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

I’ve never had a dislike for men. I’ve been badly treated by some. But I’ve been loved greatly by some. I married a lot of them. – Maya Angelou

Ask for what you want, and be prepared to get it. – Maya Angelou

Home is a refuge, not only from the world but a refuge from my worries, my terrible concerns. I like beautiful things around me. I like to be beautiful because it delights my eyes and my soul is lifted up. – Maya Angelou

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. – Maya Angelou

A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing. – Maya Angelou

Each one of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm, when we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other and empathize with each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike. – Maya Angelou

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. People know themselves much better than you do. That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are. – Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. – Maya Angelou

A man or woman who sees other people as whole and prepared and accords them respect and the same rights has arranged his or her own allies. – Maya Angelou

I think the more we know the better we are. I mean not just facts. The more we know about each other, the closer we are to learn something about our selves. – Maya Angelou

I think we ought to give ourselves more time. We should be more patient with ourselves and with each other. – Maya Angelou

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. – Maya Angelou

You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive. – Maya Angelou

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

You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’ – Maya Angelou

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain. – Maya Angelou

I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good. – Maya Angelou

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. – Maya Angelou

I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it. – Maya Angelou

I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. – Maya Angelou

I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens. Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying, but also something wonderful happens to me. I’m grateful that I’m heard. – Maya Angelou

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

We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike. – Maya Angelou

At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself. – Maya Angelou

My greatest blessing has been the birth of my son. My next greatest blessing has been my ability to turn people into children of mine. – Maya Angelou

I love the song ‘I Hope You Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack. I was going to write that song, but someone beat me to it. – Maya Angelou

In all my work, I try to say, ‘You may be given a load of sour lemons, why not try to make a dozen lemon meringue pies?’  – Maya Angelou

Everyone has at least one story, and each of us is funny if we admit it. You have to admit you’re the funniest person you’ve ever heard of. – Maya Angelou

I wrote some of the worst poetry west from the Mississippi River, but I wrote. And I finally sometimes got it right. – Maya Angelou

Don’t get older just to get wiser. If you get older, you will be wiser, I believe that – if you dare. But get older because it’s fun!  – Maya Angelou

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

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

I answer the heroic question Death where is thy sting? It is here in my heart and mind and memories. – Maya Angelou

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

It is only out of ignorance that people are cruel, because they really don’t think it will come back. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

The white American man makes the white American woman maybe not superfluous but just a little kind of decoration. Not really important to turning around the wheels of the state. Well the black American woman has never been able to feel that way. No black American man at any time in our history in the United States has been able to feel that he didn’t need that black woman right against him, shoulder to shoulder — in that cotton field, on the auction block, in the ghetto, wherever. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

Each of us has the right and the responsibility to asses the road which lie ahead and those over which we have traveled, and if the feature road looms ominous or unpromising, and the road back uninviting-inviting, then we need to gather our resolve and carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that one as well. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

…there is a difference between being convinced and being stubborn. -Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

A woman who is convinced that she deserves to accept only the best challenges herself to give the best. Then she is living phenomenally. – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

On Life

Determine to live life with flair and laughter. – Maya Angelou

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: I’m with you kid. Let’s go. – Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. – Maya Angelou

You listen with interest. That gives some sense of confidence to the speaker. – Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life”. – Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’. – Maya Angelou

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

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

If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased. – Maya Angelou

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

We are here to love each other. That is why you are alive. That is what life is for. – Maya Angelou

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

My life has been long, and believing that life loves the liver of it, I have dared to try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring still. – Maya Angelou

I have respect for the past, but I’m a person of the moment. – Maya Angelou

I try to see every day as a celebration. – Maya Angelou

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

I’m here, and I do my best to be completely centered at the place I’m at, then I go forward to the next place. – Maya Angelou

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good. – Maya Angelou

Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. – Maya Angelou

She comprehended the perversity of life, that in the struggle lies the joy. – Maya Angelou

If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you will look forward, do so prayerfully. But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully. – Maya Angelou

Joy is a freedom. It helps a person to find his or her own liberation. The person who is joyous takes responsibility for the time he/she takes up and the space that he/she occupies. You share it! Some of you have it … you share it! That is what joy is! When you continue to give it away you will still have so much more of it. – Maya Angelou

Happiness is a chance to talk to a friend, to hear good music, to have a good glass of wine. Happiness is a chance to be myself and to find people with whom I agree or who I don’t agree but I can learn something. – Maya Angelou

The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed. – Maya Angelou

It’s the fire in my eyes, and the flash of my teeth, the swing in my waist, and the joy in my feet. – Maya Angelou

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

Every day I awaken I am grateful. My intent is to be totally present in that day. And laugh as much as possible. – Maya Angelou

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. – Maya Angelou

Be present in all things and thankful for all things. – Maya Angelou

You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive. – Maya Angelou

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

Human beings are more alike than unalike. Whether in Paris, Texas, or Paris, France, we all want to have good jobs where we are needed and respected and paid just a little more than we deserve. We want healthy children, safe streets, to be loved and have the unmitigated gall to accept love. – Maya Angelou

I’m considered wise, and sometimes I see myself as knowing. Most of the time, I see myself as wanting to know. And I see myself as a very interested person. I’ve never been bored in my life. – Maya Angelou

Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging. – Maya Angelou

We can be better, we can be wiser, we can be more kind. Yes we have to change. We have to grow up and stop acting like 10 years old. Yes there is much to do, much to see, much to go into. – Maya Angelou

Open your eyes to the beauty around you, open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself. – Maya Angelou

I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people. – Maya Angelou

If we live long enough, we may even get over war. I imagine a time when somebody will mention the word war and everyone in the room will start to laugh. And what do you mean war? – Maya Angelou

I encourage courtesy. To accept nothing less than courtesy, and to give nothing less than courtesy. – Maya Angelou

Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art. – Maya Angelou

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.’ – Maya Angelou

There are those who say that poets should use I believe in living a poetic life, an art full life. Everything we do from the way we raise our children to the way we welcome our friends is part of a large canvas we are creating.her and his art to change the world. I’d agree with that, but I think everybody should do that. I think the chef and the baker and the candlestick maker – I think everybody should be hoping to make it a better world. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit”. – Maya Angelou

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 at a commensurate speed. – Maya Angelou

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

I am capable of what every other human is capable of. This is one of the great lessons of war and life. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

On Love

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. – Maya Angelou

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

I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love. – Maya Angelou

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. – Maya Angelou

I know for sure that loves saves me and that it is here to save us all. – Maya Angelou

If you want to liberate someone, love them. Not be in love with them – that’s dangerous. – Maya Angelou

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

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.  – Maya Angelou

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

First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love. – Maya Angelou

Loving someone liberates the lover as well as the beloved. And that kind of love comes with age. – Maya Angelou

You can never be great at anything unless you love it. Not be in love with it, but love the thing, admire the thing. And it seems that if you love the thing, and you don’t just want to possess it, it will find you. But if you’re in love with the thing, it may run like hell away from you. – Maya Angelou

When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe. – Maya Angelou

It’s very hard for adults to maintain respect and romance so that a love affair can be sustained over years. – Maya Angelou

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

Forgiveness. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. You are relieved of carrying that burden of resentment. You really are lighter. You feel lighter. You just drop that. – Maya Angelou

When people see the laughing face, even if they’re jealous of it, their burden is lightened. But do it first for yourself. Laugh and dare to try to love somebody, starting with yourself. – Maya Angelou

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

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

I believe that people want the scent of love, more than anything else. And I don’t mean sentimentality, I don’t mean mush. I mean that idea, that human beings are more alike than we are different. – Maya Angelou

It’s hard because people think they have something to lose and the truth is they have everything to gain in trying to love somebody. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

By love I don’t mean indulgence. I do not mean sentimentality. And in this instance, I don’t even mean romance. I mean that condition that allowed humans to dream of God. That condition that allowed the “dumb” to write spirituals and Russian songs and Irish lilts. That is love, and it’s so much larger than anything I can conceive. – Maya Angelou

If you happen to fall in love with someone in another race, it’s more difficult, because you have to translate yourself. – Maya Angelou

I’m convinced that the negative has power. It lives. And if you allow it to perch in your house, in your mind, in your life, it can take you over. So when the rude or cruel thing is said – the lambasting, the gay bashing, the hate – I say, “Take it all out of my house!” Those negative words climb into the woodwork and into the furniture, and the next thing you know they’ll be on my skin. – Maya Angelou

On Courage

If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within. – Maya Angelou

The only thing is, people have to develop courage. – Maya Angelou

Having courage does not mean we are unafraid. – Maya Angelou

Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage, you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently. – Maya Angelou

Courage – you develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn’t want to pick up a 100-pound weight without preparing yourself. – Maya Angelou

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

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. – Maya Angelou

Courage, I don’t think anybody is born with courage. I think you may be born with a flair to braggadocio, you know. That’s not courage. – Maya Angelou

To develop courage you have to start developing courage as you do any other muscle. You have to start with small things and build it up. – Maya Angelou

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. – Maya Angelou

What I really would like said about me is that I dared to love. By love, I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound it encourages us to develop courage and build bridges, and then to trust those bridges and cross the bridges in attempts to reach other human beings. – Maya Angelou

You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it. – Maya Angelou

I think that each of us is so much alike, and yet at the same time we are so different, and I have a feeling that if you encountered difficulty, and I with my age encountered the same difficulty, I would respond one way, and you would respond another. Neither would be right or wrong. It’s just that each of us is courageous, and that’s what I encourage, courage, and the courage to see, and the courage to say to oneself what one has seen. Don’t be in denial. – Maya Angelou

Whining lets the brute know there’s a victim for him in the neighborhood. – Maya Angelou

I have enough of life in me to make somebody jealous enough to want to knock me down. I have so much courage in me that I have the effrontery, the incredible gall to stand up. That’s it. That’s how you get to know who you are. – Maya Angelou

Those who have something to say accept the fact that that’s lonely. One already knows that there will be adversaries. – Maya Angelou

The only way you can be a mark is if you want something for nothing. If you’re greedy, you’re set up. – Maya Angelou

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. – Maya Angelou

If I’m here, I’ll be trying to be a better human being, a better writer, a better friend and a better beloved. – Maya Angelou

We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat, so that we can know who we are. – Maya Angelou

It is always about the work. In the latter years of your life, your happiness and your self-esteem will be determined by the mountains you surmounted, the valleys you climbed out of, and the life and/or career that you forged for yourself. – Maya Angelou

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

If somebody is really trying to take your head off with a baseball bat – I don’t know how long you’re supposed to stand there and turn the other cheek, so he or she can get a better angle at taking your head off. – Maya Angelou

If I am going to do the most difficult and frightening thing – dying – is it possible that I could do some difficult and impossible things that are good? – Maya Angelou

You have to deal with what you encounter. But you must not be reduced. And so a way not to be reduced is don’t whine! Don’t let the incidents which take place in life bring you low. – Maya Angelou

I did get knocked down flat in front of the whole world, and I rose. I didn’t run away – I rose right where I’d been knocked down. And then that’s how you get to know yourself. – Maya Angelou

In order to win, we pay with energy and effort and discipline. If we lose, we pay in disappointment, discontent, and lack of fulfillment. – Maya Angelou

I am not competing with anyone other than myself. I want to be excellent at whatever I do. – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

On Motherhood, Womanhood

I became the kind of parent my mother was to me. – Maya Angelou

I sustain myself with the love of family. – Maya Angelou

If I have a monument in this world, it is my son. – Maya Angelou

A mother’s love liberates. – Maya Angelou

My mother raised me, and then freed me. – Maya Angelou

Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women. – Maya Angelou

My pride had been starched by a family who assumed unlimited authority in its own affairs. – Maya Angelou

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

I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being. – Maya Angelou

I have a feeling that I make a very good friend, and I’m a good mother, and a good sister, and a good citizen. I am involved in life itself – all of it. And I have a lot of energy and a lot of nerve. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself. – Maya Angelou

Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman. – Maya Angelou

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

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. – Maya Angelou

My mother had said me, “All right, you’ve been raised, so don’t let anybody else raise you. You know the difference between right and wrong. Do right. And remember – you can always come home.” And she continued to liberate me until she died. – Maya Angelou

On her mother: On the night she died, I went to the hospital. I told my mom, “Let me tell you about yourself. You deserved a great daughter, and you got one. And you liberated me to be one. So if it’s time for you to go, you may have done everything God brought you here to do. – Maya Angelou

When teachers or people in authority put me down or in one way or another tried to make me feel less than equal to what they thought I should be – my mother was on my side. It was amazing. – Maya Angelou

My mother is so full of joy and life. I am her child. And that is better than being the child of anyone else in the world. – Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. – Maya Angelou

The love of the family, the love of one person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society. – Maya Angelou

Home is a refuge not only from the world, but a refuge from my worries, my troubles, my concerns. – Maya Angelou

I do not believe that the accident of birth makes people sisters and brothers. It makes them siblings. Gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood are conditions people have to work at. It’s a serious matter. You compromise, you give, you take, you stand firm, and you’re relentless…And it is an investment. Sisterhood means if you happen to be in Burma and I happen to be in San Diego and I’m married to someone who is very jealous and you’re married to somebody who is very possessive, if you call me in the middle of the night, I have to come. – Maya Angelou

The sisters and brothers that you meet give you the materials which your character uses to build itself. It is said that some people are born great, others achieve it, some have it thrust upon them. In truth, the ways in which your character is built have to do with all three of those. Those around you, those you choose, and those who choose you. – Maya Angelou

On Education

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

On her mother: She’d talk to me as if I had some sense. – Maya Angelou

I do hope that young men and women will start to think for themselves and start to take responsibility for their own thoughts. – Maya Angelou

We need to remember to teach our children that solitude can be a much-to-be-desired condition. Not only is it acceptable to be alone; at times it is positively to be wished for…..In the silence we listen to ourselves. Then we ask questions of ourselves. We describe ourselves to ourselves, and in the quietude we may even hear the voice of God. – Maya Angelou

I think we have systematically and critically harmed ourselves and many young people by advising them not to try things. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

Each child belongs to all of us and they will bring us a tomorrow in direct relation to the responsibility we have shown to them. – Maya Angelou

If I’m going to a new country, I try to learn something about the language and the culture, so I don’t just go bumbling over things. – Maya Angelou

The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach. – Maya Angelou

People feel guilty. And guilt is stymieing. Guilt immobilizes. Guilt closes the air ducts and the veins, and makes people ignorant. – Maya Angelou

If a person – any human being – is told often enough, “You are nothing. You are nothing. You account for nothing. You count for nothing. You are less than a human being. I have no visibility of you”, the person finally begins to believe it. – Maya Angelou

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

If the door has been opened and I’ve been invited, or if I’m not invited and I somehow know I’m supposed to go in there, I put myself together and go in, praying all the while. I try to learn something before I go in. I try to show some respect of the place I’m going into. – Maya Angelou

If you’re in love with your children, you’re in their lives all the time. Leave them alone. Let them grow and make some mistakes. – Maya Angelou

On Religion

I hope you always find a reason to smile. – Maya Angelou

Faith is the evidence of the unseen. – Maya Angelou

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

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. – Maya Angelou

Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances. You are a child of God. Stand up straight. – Maya Angelou

I believe that each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. So at this wonderful, young age of 65, I don’t know yet what the Lord has for me to do. I try to live up to the energy and to the calling, but I wouldn’t dare say I have even scratched the surface yet. – Maya Angelou

The most difficult thing in the world, it seems to me, is to realize that I am a child of God; to keep that in my mind all the time. – Maya Angelou

I’m working at trying to be a Christian, and that’s serious business. It’s like trying to be a good Jew, a good Muslim, a good Buddhist, a good Shintoist, a good Zoroastrian, a good friend, a good lover, a good mother, a good buddy – it’s serious business. – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

On History and Racism

I have great respect for the past. – Maya Angelou

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

Don’t hesitate to learn the most painful aspects of our history, understand it. – Maya Angelou

Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world but it has not solved one yet. – Maya Angelou

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

It is imperative that young white men and women study the black American history. It is imperative that blacks and whites study the Asian American history. – Maya Angelou

There’s something beautiful about the fact that Obama was not just elected, but elected decisively across racial, and socio-economic and cultural groups and that we all celebrated in his win. – Maya Angelou

The country didn’t get that way in a week; we’ve had years and years of getting behind in our economy. So President Obama stepped into a hellhole and people wanted him to change it as soon as he came in. But he’s got his adversaries to deal with in the House and Senate, so it’s not easy. – Maya Angelou

All of my history as an African-American woman, as a Jewish woman, as a Muslim woman. I’m bringing everything I ever knew, and all the stories I’ve read – everything good, strong, kind and powerful. I bring it all with me into every situation, and I will not allow my life to be minimized by anybody’s racism or sexism or ageism. – Maya Angelou

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

I would encourage us all, African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Whites, Native Americans to study history. I long for the time when all the human history is taught as one history. I am stronger because you are stronger. I am weaker if you are weak. So we are more alike than we are unlike. – Maya Angelou

The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they don’t know my story. – Maya Angelou

There’s racism and sexism and ageism and all sorts of idiocies. But bad news is not news. We’ve had bad news as a species for a long time. We’ve had slavery and human sacrifice and the holocaust and brutalities of such measure. – Maya Angelou

My people couldn’t have survived slavery without having hope that it would get better. – Maya Angelou

I’m a descendant of someone bought and sold, and brought in 1619 in what was to become the United States. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

We are growing up. We are growing up! Out of the idiocies – the ignorances of racism and sexism and ageism and all those ignorances. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors, and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance. – Maya Angelou

We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate – thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising. – Maya Angelou

Funny

This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before. – Maya Angelou

The best candy shop a child can be left alone in, is the library. – Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. – Maya Angelou

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.’ – Maya Angelou

I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

I never have written every day. When I’m writing a book, I write Monday through Friday. I always try to take Saturday and pretend to have some sanity. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

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. – Maya Angelou

If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up – lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well. – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

Quotes from Maya Angelou’s Books

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 

The needs of a society determine its ethics. – Maya Angelou

I believe most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise. – Maya Angelou

Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives. – Maya Angelou

Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between. – Maya Angelou

Life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait. – Maya Angelou

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

You don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking. – Maya Angelou

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

Mom & Me & Mom

I want you to learn that you cannot have anything without working for it. – Maya Angelou

My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small. The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin. – Maya Angelou

I will look after you and I will look after anybody you say needs to be looked after, any way you say. I am here. I brought my whole self to you. I am your mother. – Maya Angelou

Don’t do anything that you think is wrong. Just do what you think is right, and then be ready to back it up even with your life. – Maya Angelou

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou

We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. – Maya Angelou

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom. – Maya Angelou

A bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. – Maya Angelou

A caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. – Maya Angelou

And Still I Rise

You were a precious pearl
How I loved to see you shine,
You were the perfect girl.
And you were mine.
For a time.
For a time.
Just for a time.– Maya Angelou, “Just for a Time”

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise. – Maya Angelou, 
“Still I Rise” 

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise. – Maya Angelou, 
“Still I Rise”

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs? – Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise”

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. – Maya Angelou, 
“Still I Rise”

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise

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, “Still I Rise”

I went to sleep last night
And I arose with the dawn,
I know that there are others
Who’re still sleeping on,
They’ve gone away,
You’ve let me stay,
I want to thank You. – Maya Angelou, “Thank You, Lord”

Had I known that the heart breaks slowly, dismantling itself into unrecognizable plots of misery… had I known yet I would have loved you, your brash and insolent beauty, your heavy comedic face and knowledge of sweet delights, but from a distance I would have left you whole and wholly for the delectation of those who wanted more and cared less. – Maya Angelou

The Heart of a Woman

You can’t get too high for somebody to bring you down. – Maya Angelou

I had to trust life, since I was young enough to believe that life loved the person who dared to live it.– Maya Angelou

“Can I do it? I’d rather not try and fail”.
That’s stupid talk Maya.
Every try will not succeed.
But if you’re going to live, live at all, your business is trying…
You fail, you get up and try again. – Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size. But when I start to tell them, they think I’m telling lies. I say, it’s in the reach of my arms the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips. I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me. – Maya Angelou

Men themselves have wondered what they see in me. They try so much but they can’t touch my inner mystery. When I try to show them they say they still can’t see. I say, it’s in the arch of my back, the sun of my smile, the ride of my breasts, the grace of my style. I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me. – Maya Angelou

Now you understand just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing it ought to make you proud. I say, it’s in the click of my heels, the bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, the need of my care, ’cause I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me. – Maya Angelou

I know that I’m not the easiest person to live with. The challenge I put on myself is so great that the person I live with feels himself challenged. I bring a lot to bear, and I don’t know how not to. – Maya Angelou

Letter to My Daughter

I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe. – Maya Angelou

Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution. – Maya Angelou

All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us all that we are more alike than we are unalike. – Maya Angelou

One person, with good purpose, can, constitute the majority. – Maya Angelou

I Shall Not Be Moved

Glory falls around us
as we sob
a dirge of
desolation on the Cross
and hatred is the ballast of
the rock

which lies upon our necks
and underfoot. – Maya Angelou, “Glory Falls”

We grow despite the
horror that we feed
upon our own
tomorrow.
We grow. – Maya Angelou, “Glory Falls”

Petulant priests, greedy
centurions, and one million
incensed gestures stand
between your love and me. – Maya Angelou, “Savior”

Visit us again, Savior.

Your children, burdened with
disbelief, blinded by a patina
of wisdom,
carom down this vale of
fear. We cry for you
although we have lost
your name. – Maya Angelou, “Savior”

I have need of a friend.

There is one and only one
who will give the air
from his failing lungs
for my body’s mend.

And that one is my love. – Maya Angelou, “Many and More”

A Brave and Startling Truth

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.

Love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
A Brave and Startling Truth.

It is possible and imperative that we discover
A brave and startling truth.

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
And without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it. – Maya Angelou

We Had Him

A poetic tribute to Michael Jackson

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.
Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.
He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.
Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.
He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We are missing Michael.
But we do know we had him, and we are the world. – Maya Angelou

Paris Review Interview

Nathaniel Hawthorne says, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” I try to pull the language into such a sharpness that it jumps off the page. It must look easy, but it takes me forever to get it to look so easy. – Maya Angelou

I know when it’s the best I can do. It may not be the best there is. Another writer may do it much better. But I know when it’s the best I can do. I know that one of the great arts that the writer develops is the art of saying, No. No, I’m finished. Bye. And leaving it alone. I will not write it into the ground. I will not write the life out of it. I won’t do that. – Maya Angelou

Years ago I read a man named Machado de Assis who wrote a book called Dom Casmurro. Machado de Assis is a South American writer — black father, Portuguese mother — writing in 1865, say. I thought the book was very nice. Then I went back and read the book and said, Hmm. I didn’t realize all that was in that book. Then I read it again, and again, and I came to the conclusion that what Machado de Assis had done for me was almost a trick: he had beckoned me onto the beach to watch a sunset. And I had watched the sunset with pleasure. When I turned around to come back in I found that the tide had come in over my head. That’s when I decided to write. – Maya Angelou

Yes. When I’m writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. – Maya Angelou

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