Maya Angelou quotes

Born
April 4, 1928, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.

Died
May 28, 2014.

Occupation
Author, poet.

Maya Angelou born Marguerite Annie Johnson was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry.

There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.
– Maya Angelou
I wasn’t a pretty girl. I was six feet tall at 15, you know.
– Maya Angelou
Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.’
– Maya Angelou
If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
– 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 read the Bible to myself; I’ll take any translation, any edition, and read it aloud, just to hear the language, hear the rhythm, and remind myself how beautiful English is.
– 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
It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
– Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.
– Maya Angelou
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
– Maya Angelou
Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.
– Maya Angelou
Won’t it be wonderful when black history and native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.
– Maya Angelou
At one time, you could sit on the Rue de la Paix in Paris or at the Habima Theater in Tel Aviv or in Medina and you could see a person come in, black, white, it didn’t matter. You said, ‘That’s an American’ because there’s a readiness to smile and to talk to people.
– Maya Angelou
Don’t let the incidents which take place in life bring you low. And certainly don’t whine. You can be brought low, that’s OK, but don’t be reduced by them. Just say, ‘That’s life.’
– Maya Angelou
Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.
– Maya Angelou
I’m grateful to intelligent people. That doesn’t mean educated. That doesn’t mean intellectual. I mean really intelligent. What black old people used to call ‘mother wit’ means intelligence that you had in your mother’s womb. That’s what you rely on. You know what’s right to do.
– Maya Angelou
Nothing will work unless you do.
– Maya Angelou
It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.
– 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’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 thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.
– 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
All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.
– Maya Angelou
We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men… We are who we are because they were who they were. It’s wise to know where you come from, who called your name.
– 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. Human beings are more alike than unalike.
– 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
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
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
– 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
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
We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
– 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
Politicians must set their aims for the high ground and according to our various leanings, Democratic, Republican, Independent, we will follow. Politicians must be told if they continue to sink into the mud of obscenity, they will proceed alone.
– Maya Angelou
I speak to the black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition.
– Maya Angelou
How wonderful it is to be an American. We have known the best of times and the worst of times.
– Maya Angelou
If we accept being talked to any kind of a way, then we are telling ourselves we are not quite worth the best. And if we have the effrontery to talk to anybody with less than courtesy, we tell ourselves and the world we are not very intelligent.
– Maya Angelou
I am never proud to participate in violence, yet I know that each of us must care enough for ourselves that we can be ready and able to come to our own defence when and wherever needed.
– Maya Angelou
The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you’re wrinkled.
– Maya Angelou
Of course, there are those critics – New York critics as a rule – who say, ‘Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer.’ Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing. I work at the language.
– Maya Angelou
In the flush of love’s light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.
– Maya Angelou
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
– Maya Angelou
I love the melodies in the Old Testament, how preachers highlight them when they read from the Scripture. But I was influenced forever by the New Testament. I love the Beatitudes, informing us that the meek shall inherit the earth.
– Maya Angelou
I liked to write from the time I was about 12 or 13. I loved to read. And since I only spoke to my brother, I would write down my thoughts. And I think I wrote some of the worst poetry west of the Rockies. But by the time I was in my 20s, I found myself writing little essays and more poetry – writing at writing.
– 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
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
– Maya Angelou
I never had that feeling that I had to carry the weight of somebody’s ignorance around with me. And that was true for racists who wanted to use the ‘n’ word when talking about me or about my people, or the stupidity of people who really wanted to belittle other folks because they weren’t pretty or they weren’t rich or they weren’t clever.
– Maya Angelou
A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.
– Maya Angelou
Encouragement to all women is – let us try to offer help before we have to offer therapy. That is to say, let’s see if we can’t prevent being ill by trying to offer a love of prevention before illness.
– Maya Angelou
Every December, I host a tree-trimming party. I serve chili with cornbread and lots of good wine. It’s a wonderful party, and it shows how much adults like to play.
– Maya Angelou
I did work in a strip club, but I didn’t strip. I danced, and I became very popular.
– Maya Angelou
At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself.
– Maya Angelou
During bad circumstances, which is the human inheritance, you must decide not to be reduced. You have your humanity, and you must not allow anything to reduce that. We are obliged to know we are global citizens. Disasters remind us we are world citizens, whether we like it or not.
– Maya Angelou
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
– Maya Angelou
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
– 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
One of the wonderful things about Oprah: She teaches you to keep on stepping.
– Maya Angelou
I like chicken a lot because chicken is generous – that is to say, it’s obedient. It will do whatever you tell it to do.
– Maya Angelou
Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity. I think that each one of us is born with creativity.
– 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
I think Clinton, after getting into office and into Washington, was shocked at being bludgeoned. So he spent time trying to be all things to all people – one way guaranteed not to be successful or respected in a lion’s den. You can’t just play around with all those big cats – you’ve got to take somebody on.
– Maya Angelou
If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.
– Maya Angelou
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
– 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
Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.
– Maya Angelou
All great achievements require time.
– Maya Angelou
One of my lungs is half gone, and the other half, because I smoked for years, has a lesion. So I can’t swim anymore and had the swimming pool covered over. Now it’s what I call the dance pavilion, and so I and my friends sit out and put music on and watch people dance.
– Maya Angelou
Most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise.
– Maya Angelou
When I write, I tend to twist my hair. Something for my small mind to do, I guess.
– 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
There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
– Maya Angelou
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
– Maya Angelou
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
– 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
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’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
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