Quotes by Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou (born 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) ...

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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.

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
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.
We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
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.
Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: I'm with you kid. Let's go.
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.
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.
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
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.
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.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.
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.
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.
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.
There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.
There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.
I believe that every person is born with talent.
Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.
The need for change bulldozed road down the center of my mind.
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.
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.
Education helps one case cease being intimidated by strange situations.
The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.
Life loves the liver of it.
Something made greater by ourselves and in turn that makes us greater.
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. Each of us has a few minutes a day or a few hours a week which we could donate to an old folks home or a children's hospital ward. The elderly whose pillows we plump or whose water pitchers we refill may or may not thank us for our gift, but the gift is upholding the foundation of the universe.
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the spaces between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
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.
I answer the heroic question "Death where is thy sting?" "It is here in my heart and mind and memories"
At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.
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.
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.
Alone, all alone. Nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone.
There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
History, despite its wrenching pain, / Cannot be unlived, and if faced / With courage, need not be lived again.
You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
“I probably couldn’t learn to cook creole food, anyway. It’s too complicated.” // “Sheeit. Ain’t nothing but onions, green peppers and garlic. Put that in everything and you got creole food.”