The world has bid goodbye today to Maya Angelou, 86, whose autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings led her to become one of the most influential voices in contemporary literature.
Throughout her storied career, Angelou also delivered the inaugural poem for Bill Clinton in 1993 (both grew up in rural Arkansas) and counted among her luminous friends and colleagues Dr. Martin Luther King and Oprah Winfrey.
In celebration of Angelou’s groundbreaking achievements in fields as varied as poetry, education and civil rights activism, here’s a look back at some of her most poignant remarks over the years:
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1. “I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
2. “You shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
3. “Nothing will work unless you do.”
4. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
5. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
6. “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’”
7. “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
8. “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
9. “To grow up is to stop putting blame on parents.”
10. “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you.”