Maya Angelou was a legendary author, poet, activist, and all-around inspiring woman. She touched many lives around the world through her works. In honor of her remarkable life and legacy, here are the best of Maya Angelou quotes.
About Maya Angelou
Marguerite Annie Johnson, known to the world as Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928. She was given the nickname ‘Maya’ by her older brother, Bailey. Maya was sent to live with her paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas due to her parent’s tumultuous marriage and subsequent divorce.
Maya Angelou’s interest in written words and the English language was evident from an early age. Throughout her childhood, she wrote essays, and poetry, and kept a journal. When she returned to her grandmother in Arkansas, she took an interest in poetry and memorized the works of Shakespeare.
Maya Angelou graduated from Mission High School in 1944 and gave birth to her only child, Clyde Bailey Johnson, shortly after graduation. She got married to Tosh Angelos and adopted a form of his surname, Angelou. She kept this name throughout her life, even though the marriage ended in divorce in 1952.
Angelou was also noted for her talent as a singer and dancer. She performed professionally in the US, Europe, and northern Africa and also sold albums of her recordings.
In 1959, Maya Angelou joined the Harlem Writers Guild and in 1969, she published an autobiography of her early life, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The book told the story of her personal strength amid childhood trauma and racism.
Resonating with readers, the book was nominated for the National Book Award. It is credited with helping other sexual abuse survivors tell their stories. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has been translated into numerous languages and has sold over a million copies worldwide. She eventually published six more autobiographies.
Maya Angelou wrote numerous poetry volumes, such as the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Just Give Me a Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie, and also several essay collections. She recorded spoken albums of her poetry, including the Grammy-winning spoken words album ”On the Pulse of the Morning.”
In 1972, Maya Angelou became the first African American woman to have her screenplay turned into a film with the production of Georgia Georgia.
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Inspirational Maya Angelou Quotes
These are the best inspirational Maya Angelou quotes
- “Nothing will work unless you do.”
- “People may forget what you said and what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
- “The most important thing beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare”
- “You may not be able to control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by these events”
- “Ask for the things you want and be prepared to get them.”
- “If you are not good to yourself, how can you expect anyone to be good to you?”
- “Success is liking yourself, what you do, and how you do it”
- “You may encounter many defeats but must not be defeated.”
- “We are only as blind as we want to be.”
- “Your belief and your work will speak for you.”
- “You cannot have anything if you do not work for it”
- “Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst, and don’t be surprised by anything in between”
- “God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us- in the dreariest and most dreaded moments- can see a possibility of hope.”
- “Every storm runs out of rain.”
- “Every great achievement requires time”
- “History cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, it need not be lived again.”
- “We often delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changed it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
- “If you don’t like something, then change it. But if you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
- “You will never know how amazing you truly are if you are always trying to be normal”
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Maya Angelou Quotes About Love
These are the best Maya Angelou quotes on love and self-love:
- “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope for a brighter future”
- “If you want to be great at whatever you do, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it”
- “If you have only one smile left in you, give it to the people you love”
- “One of the greatest gifts in life is to forgive yourself.”
- “Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold- that’s ego. It doesn’t bind.”
- “Love is that condition in the healing spirit so profound that it allows us to forgive”
- “I know for sure that love saves me and that it is here to save us all who open our hearts to welcome it.”
- “The love of the family, the love of one person, can heal. It heals the scars left by the larger society.”
- “Love can be used for anything you can explain, any good thing you can explain.”
- “Have the courage to trust love one more time and always one more time”
- “Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time”
- “We need joy as we need air. We need love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share.”
- “Love can be many things. It is varied. But one thing love is not is unsure.”
- “If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.”
- “Love cost all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free. A brave and startling truth.”
- “If we are brave, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls”
- “When we find someone brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.”
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Maya Angelou Quotes on Life
Here are some of the best Maya Angelou quotes on life
- “You should not go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back”
- “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”
- “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody”
- “Be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”
- “Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant”
- “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”
- “No matter what happens, or how bad today may be, life goes on and it will be better tomorrow”
- “Determine to live life with flair and laughter”
- “If someone shows you who they really are, believe them”
- “Making a living is not the same thing as making a life”
- “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, “I’m with you kid, let’s go”
- “Open your eyes to the beauty around you. Open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself”
- “Life is pure adventure. The sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art”
Maya Angelou Quotes About Women
These are some of the best Maya Angelou quotes about women
- “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women”
- “I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life”
- “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life is a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass”
- “A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman also refuses to be anyone’s victim”
- “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to see Him just to find her”
- “A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself”
- “The wise woman thinks twice and speaks once or, better yet, does not speak at all”
- “Courage allows the successful woman to fail- and to learn powerful lessons from the failure- so that in the end, she didn’t fail at all”
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Frequently Asked Questions on Maya Angelou Quote
What is Maya Angelou’s most famous quote?
Maya Angelou’s most famous quote is “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
What are strong quotes by Maya Angelou?
Here are 5 strong quotes from Maya Angelou
1. “All great achievements require time.”
2. “Nothing will work unless you do.”
3. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
4. “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently”.
5. “A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman also refuses to be anyone’s victim”
What are 5 famous quotes?
Of all Maya Angelou quotes, here are the 5 most famous ones
1. “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
2. “If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.”
3. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
4. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
5. “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”