Collection of Maya Angelou’s Most Inspirational Quotes and Words on Life

Renowned Author, Poet, and Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou died Wednesday at the age of 86 at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. Her literary legacy of award-winning and inspirational work spans more than half a century. Here is a short collection:-

“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”

“While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.”

“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.”

“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.”

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

“When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber after safety. When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear. When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken. Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened.  Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves. And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.”

I know why the cage bird sings cover

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Quotes

“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”

“Oh, Black known and unknown poets, how often have your auctioned pains sustained us? Who will compute the lonely nights made less lonely by your songs, or by the empty pots made less tragic by your tales? If we were a people much given to revealing secrets, we might raise monuments and sacrifice to the memories of our poets, but slavery cured us of that weakness.”

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”

“Anything that works against you can also work for you once you understand the Principle of Reverse.”

“Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

“The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time she is caught in the tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice, white illogical hate and Black lack of power. The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors and deserves respect if not enthusiastic admiration.”

“To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity.”

“The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education. ”

“Life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait.”

Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”

“On this platform of peace, we can create a language to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.”

The Complete Collected Poems

“Soft you day, be velvet soft,
My true love approaches,
Look you bright, you dusty sun,
Array your golden coaches.

Soft you wind, be soft as silk
My true love is speaking.
Hold you birds, your silver throats,
His golden voice I’m seeking.

Come you death, in haste, do come
My shroud of black be weaving,
Quiet my heart, be deathly quiet,
My true love is leaving.”


Dr. Maya Angelou all smiles as she greets guests at a garden party at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. (May 20, 2010)

Quotes from All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. It impels mighty ambitions and dangerous capers.”

Quotes from The Heart of a Woman

“You can’t get too high for somebody to bring you down.”

“If more Africans had eaten missionaries, the continent would be in better shape”

Quotes from Mom & Me & Mom

“Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.”

“I will look after you and I will look after anybody you say needs to be looked after, any way you say. I am here. I brought my whole self to you. I am your mother.”

“remember this: When you cross my doorstep, you have already been raised. With what you have learned…you know the difference between right and wrong. Do right. Don’t anybody raise you from the way you have been raised. Know you will have to make adaptations, in love, in relationships, in friends, in society, in work, but don’t let anybody change your mind.”

More quotes..

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life goes on, and it will be better tomorrow.”

More on the life of Maya Angelou HERE

From EMB

EMB take this time to wish family, friends, supporters and well wishers of Dr. Maya Angelou strength and comfort in this your time of loss and bereavement. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

About Yvonne I. Wilson (793 Articles)
Yvonne I. Wilson is known for her prolific, dynamic leadership style with over twenty years in the healthcare industry. She is a trailblazer and a catalyst for change; a positive thinker and someone who is very passionate and optimistic about life. She is mantled as an end-time Apostolic Prophet with an extraordinary spirit of discernment, an exceptionally strong prophetic and healing anointing and a unique gift in prophetic intercessory prayer as she navigates through the realm of the spirit and as she ministers to the nations. With the Agape love of God and His undeniable purpose for which He has called her, God has given her a Prophetic Deliverance Ministry to bring deliverance to His people, to heal the wounded, rejected and emotionally scarred/broken in spirit, to break barriers, old paradigms and false teachings and to rebuild, establish and plant the things of God.

5 Comments on Collection of Maya Angelou’s Most Inspirational Quotes and Words on Life

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  2. Thanks my friend for sharing these powerful and uplifting quotes. As I reflected on her life I just started writing. Her loving spirit moved me.

    • Hi Vernon, physically she is gone, but her legacy, her words of inspiration, kindness, faith, courage and hope will live on and be spoken of for generations to come. I am so glad to have grown up in the era where I learned of her, was inspired and motivated by her fierce, yet calm and loving spirit. One way or the other, our lives were touched by hers.

  3. Hi Yvonne,

    It was indeed very sad to hear of Maya’s demise as she’s been one of the many inspirational people who’s quotes I’ve always added to my posts – I cannot even remember how many I might have used because her words always have a positive impact on us.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful collection, and may her soul rest in peace.

    • Hi Harleena, even though it was a known fact that she was ailing for a while now, still the news of her death brought much sadness. She was indeed an icon, a legendary and one who glided through life on the wings of grace despite her challenging early years.

      She inspired so many, myself included, to do and to become better than what others had labeled us as and to RISE each time no matter what the circumstances may have been.

      One such instance I recall so vividly one year ago May 18th 2013, I hit rock bottom (again) – not through any wrong doing but by association with certain individuals. It was this quote by her that caused me to rise again from that low place I found myself in.

      “There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate. You must keep it pristine. Clean. So that nobody has a right to curse you or treat you badly. Nobody. No mother, father, no wife, no husband, no – nobody. You have to have a place where you say: Stop it. Back up. Don’t you know I’m a child of God.” ~ Dr. Maya Angelou

      While her legacy lives on, she will be greatly missed. May her soul rest in peace.

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