More from and about
Maya Angelou
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

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.

   

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.
  
  
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.

      
I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself.  But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself.  It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable.  But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, "Well, if I'd known better I'd have done better," that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, "I'm sorry," and then you say to yourself, "I'm sorry."  If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being.  You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self.
  
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.
  
  
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
   

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.

     

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

   

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

   

Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the
roads which lie ahead and those over which we have traveled,
and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the
road back uninviting, 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.

   

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

   
    
Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Johnson April 4, 1928) is an American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement.

Angelou is known for the autobiographical writings I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) and All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986). Her volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1993, Angelou read her poem On the Pulse of Morning during Bill Clinton's Presidential inauguration. It was only the second time in U.S. history that a poet had been asked to read at an inauguration, the first being Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.

Besides poetry, Angelou has published collections of verse, and has contributed to periodicals in the United States and abroad. A polyglot, Angelou speaks several languages besides her native English, including French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Ghanian Fante.

Angelou has been honored by numerous academic institutions throughout her career. She has been awarded a fellowship by Yale University, and also served as a Rockefeller Foundation Scholar in Italy. Angelou has taught at the University of Ghana, University of Kansas, and at Wake Forest University, where she holds a lifetime chair as the Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of American Studies. For several years Angelou has delivered an opening address to the incoming freshman class of Duke University. Although Angelou has, in her later career, received several honorary doctorates, she never received a college education.

Outside of academia, Angelou has achieved recognition for her poetry from bodies honoring achievement in music and theater. She has received a nomination for the Tony Awards, and in 1993 won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for On the Pulse of Morning. In 2005, Angelou was honored by Oprah Winfrey at her "Legends Ball" along with 25 other African-American women whom Winfrey considered inspirational.

  

  

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