Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.
She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Maya Angelou Quotes
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.
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.
The need for change bulldozed road down the center of my mind.
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
Nothing will work unless you do.
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
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.
The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.
If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.
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.
At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.
Most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise.
We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
I believe that every person is born with talent.
Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.
If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
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.
The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerance. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors, and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance.
Life loves the liver of it.
If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
All great achievements require time.
All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
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.
Achievement brings its own anticlimax.
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.
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.
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.
Self-pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.
Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
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.
There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
Some critics will write ‘Maya Angelou is a natural writer’ – which is right after being a natural heart surgeon.
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.
If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.
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.
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.
There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.
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.
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.
Effective action is always unjust.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.
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.
Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: “I’m with you kid. Let’s go.”
While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man’s humanity to man.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.