Dr. Maya Angelou is a woman who needs no introduction. She was a feminist, a humanitarian, and artist, a dancer, a powerful thinker and a moving poet. She began her career as a calypso singer and dancer, recording her first album Miss Calypso in 1957. She performed in an off-Broadway review called Calypso Heat Wave, in which she performed her own songs. As one half of the duo “Al and Rita” she toured with Alvin Ailey. By 1959 she had moved to New York to focus on her writing career. Angelou penned 36 books with 30 bestsellers and countless poems. Her words have touched thousands and inspired an entire generation. She taught us to be gracious, kind, loving and fiercely, unapologetically ourselves.
To celebrate this American treasure and in honor of Black History Month, here are some beautiful pictures and quotes to remind us all why we love Maya.
“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible…We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
“I’m grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love – for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I’m grateful to know that it exists.”
“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.”
“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.”
“I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
“I am a Woman
“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ”
“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.”
“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.”
“Strong women- precious jewels all- their humanness is evident in their accessibility. We are able to enter into the spirit of these women and rejoice in their warmth and courage.”
“A person is the product of their dreams. So make sure to dream great dreams. And then try to live your dream.”
Watch Maya read "And Still I Rise."
Thank you for all you gave us.
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