The world is in mourning today for one the greatest authors of our generation and arguably of all time. Dr. Maya Angelou passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 86 at her home in Winston-Salem, NC. Angelou was a renowned poet, professor, actress, singer, Tony nominee, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of her most famous works includes the internally bestselling book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” chronicling life in the South during segregation. Angelou was also a very active and influential voice for equality, freedom, and education.
A high school dropout and mother by the age of 17, Dr. Angelou proved to the world it was possible to overcome adversity and circumstance through her actions, writings, and speeches. These are our picks for 8 of her greatest quotes that will continue to impact past, present, and future generations. If Dr. Maya Angelou has influenced you or if your favorite quote did not make our list, please comment below.
“Our country needs us all right now to stand up and be counted. We need to try to be great citizens. We are necessary in this country, and we need to give something — that is to say, go to a local hospital, go to the children’s ward and offer to the nurse in charge an hour twice a month that you can give them reading children’s stories or poetry,” she said. “And go to an old folks’ home and read the newspaper to somebody. Go to your church or your synagogue or your mosque, and say, ‘I’d like to be of service. I have one hour twice a month.’ You’ll be surprised at how much better you will feel,” she said. “And good done anywhere is good done everywhere.”
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
“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.”
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”