Discover the incredible story of Maya Angelou, one of the most influential women in the world, her positive quotes and excerpts from her most popular poems.

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Who is Maya Angelou? 

Maya Angelou, whose real name was Marguerite Johnson, was a writer, poet, actress and activist of the American civil rights movement. Having received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees attesting to her inspiring role in the lives of Americans, she became one of the most famous and beloved women in the United States. She is an emblematic figure of artistic and political life and her books are even on the school curriculum.

However, she wasn't always that person. Maya angelou went 5 years without saying a word! 

Maya's painful childhood Angelu…

Born in Missouri, from a poor family, her parents could not provide for her brother and her, they eventually divorced and sent their children to their grandmother with whom they spent 4 years of their childhood.

At the age of 7, Maya returned to live with her mother; A few months later, the companion of the latter abuses her. Victim of rape, she ends up telling everything to her brother, who in turn, informs the whole family of the horrible incident.

His attacker was found guilty, but was sentenced to only one day in prison. Soon after, he was found dead and many people assumed it was his uncle who ended his life.

Maya Angelou was so shocked by the facts, that she plunged into total silence for 5 long years, because she thought it was her voice that killed this man. 

During her period of silence, she discovered literature and immersed herself in books. Brilliant, intelligent and a good student, she eventually regained the use of speech with the support of her teachers and her brother.

Maya Angelou's career as well as an artist, civil rights activist and writer…

At 20, Maya Angelou is passionate about dance and music, she moves to New York where she studies African dance and records her first album, entitled "Miss Calypso".

Maya Angelou dancer - high hoist
Angelou began her career as a dancer and writer. She was part of the Caribbean Calypso Festival in 1957.

One day Maya Angelou heard Martin Luther King's speech.Jr and immediately decides to become an activist and civil rights activist, alongside the latter. She was one of the most prominent women in the movement, as she dedicated her life to being a tireless voice for women and blacks, organizing fundraisers, marches and demonstrations for freedom, all over the world.

When leader Martin Luther King died, Maya Angelou felt devastated and had a breakdown. To get by, she turned once again to books, but this time to write her own. She began to write about her painful childhood, her sorrows and hurts. His first autobiography " I know why the caged bird sings ", published in 1969, is a best seller.

Following this success, she became the author of many other books and poems, a songwriter of plays, a director of films and television shows, a journalist in Africa, a historian, a performer and a singer. 

Maya Angelou has influenced, supported and inspired many celebrities including Bill Clinton, who asked her to read his poem "On the pulse of morning" during the inaugural address, Barack Obama, who awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Oprah Winfrey who often refers to her on his show.

President Obama presents Angelou with a medal of freedom during a ceremony at the White House on February 15, 2011.

Maya Angelou passed away at the age of 86, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to inspire many generations for decades to come.

Here are 30 of Maya Angelou's most inspiring and impactful quotes.

  • Quote from Maya Angelou on self-confidence and self-esteem

"If I'm not good to myself, how can I expect someone else to be good to me?"

"If you're always trying to be normal, you'll never know how amazing you can be."

"I'm suspicious of people who don't like each other and tell me 'I love you'. There is an African proverb that says, 'Be careful, when a naked person offers you a t-shirt.'"

"Success is about loving yourself, loving what you do, and loving how you do it."

"You can't control every event that happens to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."

"We rejoice in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has undergone to achieve that beauty."

"There is no greater agony than to carry an unknown story within you."

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

  • Maya Angelou quote on love and hate

"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 whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision."

"Never make someone a priority when everything you are to them is an option."

"Have enough courage to trust love once more and always once more."

"Hate has caused a lot of problems in the world, but hasn't solved one yet."

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

"We need much less than we think we need."

"Love knows no barriers, it jumps obstacles, fences, penetrates walls to arrive at a destination full of hope."

  • Maya Angelou Quote on Life

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away."

"We are as blind as we want."

"I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."

"There is a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth."

"Whatever you want to do, if you want to be good at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it."

"Seek patience and passion in equal parts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls."

  • Excerpts from Maya Angelou's poems

Letter to my daughter

"The most trying days of my life may or may not have been bright and promising. Whether my days are glorious or lonely, I feel gratitude. Even my moments of great pessimism are followed by a tomorrow. Today I am happy."

"I am a great bird that spreads its wings over high mountains and dives into serene valleys. I follow the ripples of the waves on the silver seas. I'm a bud in the spring, trembling at the thought of blossoming fully."

"It is good for me to remember how many mountains I have climbed in my life and how many rivers I have spanned. I am ready for the challenges ahead and am forged by this knowledge."

I know why the caged bird sings

"Life was like a treadmill. She continued with detachment, without haste or haste, and my only thought was to stand upright and keep both my secret and my balance."

"One morning, as I was leaving the house, she said to me: Life will give you exactly what you bring to it. Put all your heart into everything you do, pray and then wait."

"You don't have to worry about doing the right thing. If you feel like it, then you do it without thinking about it."

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"That day, I learned that you can be generous just by making someone smile. In the years to come, I will discover that a kind word or a word of encouragement can be a charitable gift."

"Love heals. Heals and liberates. By using the word -love-, I don't mean sentimentality, but a state so powerful that maybe that's what keeps the stars in the sky and makes blood flow through our veins on a regular basis."

"Sometimes people put someone on a pedestal so they can see them and knock them down more easily."

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