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Remembering Maya Angelou Through Her Words

Dr. Maya Angelou, who died Wednesday at the age of 86, was the epitome of grace and strength—and even those words do not truly capture the vitality with which she led her life.

Most of us know Angelou as a writer who penned some of our favorite poems like “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still I Rise.” Surely Angelou embodied talent and exuberance with her history as an activist, actress, dancer, singer, screenwriter, and more; but it was Angelou’s depth, knowledge, and rawness exemplified in her works such as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” that captured the minds of those who read her writings.

Maya Angelou will unquestionably live on through her words, and what better way to remember the late author than to reflect on some of her most profound quotes:

“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.”

“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'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.”

“You can't forgive without loving. And I don't mean sentimentality. I don't mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, 'I forgive. I'm finished with it.'”

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Cheers to a woman who refused to be silenced. Rest in Power, Phenomenal Woman! What is your favorite Maya Angelou quote? How has Dr. Angelou impacted your life?

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