Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson, in St Louis, Missouri, in 1928. Best known for her 1969 memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, she wrote seven autobiographies, and was a playwright, director, actor, singer, songwriter and novelist.
However, the most important thing that Maya Angelou will be remember for is how she overcame the challenges of her youth and inspired millions of people worldwide with her life, her writings and her words.
“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace,” said her son, Guy Johnson.
She leaves with us a goldmine of quotes that will continue to inspire and guide us.
On Why a story needs to be told : “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
On Change : “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
On courage : “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
On loving oneself : “I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
On knowing : “When you know better you do better.”
On Proving yourself : “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
On Self-determination : “Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”
On Asking : “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”
In 1985, she was asked by an interviewer what she would like to read in the obituary. “What I would really like said about me is that I dared to love. By love, I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound it encourages us to develop courage and build bridges, and then to trust those bridges and cross the bridges in attempts to reach other human beings.”
These are words that she will be remembered by and we should all strive to allow this kind of love to guide us in our lives.
RIP Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014