On May 28, 2014, renowned author, poet, civil rights activist, educator and Matrix honoree Dr. Maya Angelou passed away at the age of 86. The image at left shows Angelou with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy after receiving the NYWICI Matrix Award in 1983, with fellow honorees, Newsweek Contributing Editor Jane Bryant Quinn (at left) and Washington Post Columnist Mary McGrory (at right).
The below blog post was written in February of this year.
Maya Angelou is one of the most phenomenal women of our time. A tremendously inspiring author, Dr. Angelou has written seven autobiographies, three books of essays and a plethora of poetry books. Some of her most popular written works include: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Letter to My Daughter, Phenomenal Woman, Still I Rise and Heart of a Woman just to name a few. In 1993, Angelou was asked by Bill Clinton to recite her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” during his inauguration.
Dr. Angelou’s body of work transcends what she writes on paper. She is an artist that is recognized for her work as a playwright, actress, producer and director and has appeared in numerous movies and television shows. Throughout the years, Dr. Angelou has written and appeared in films and plays that continue to captivate the hearts of many, especially African Americans such as Porgy and Bess, Roots and Brewster Place. In 1998, Angelou was the first African American woman to direct a major film: Down in the Delta.
On any given day, social media enthusiasts are likely to come across Maya Angelou quotes in their social network streams. Her words of wisdom are inspirational and empower women to pursue goals and strive for greatness. Some of my favorite quotes by Dr. Maya Angelou:
“If you get, give. If you learn, teach.”
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
“All great achievements require time.”
“Courage allows the successful woman to fail and learn powerful lessons from the failure – so that in the end, she didn’t fail at all.”
"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 of you.”
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.”
“Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright’s pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace.”
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
Dr. Maya Angelou’s poetry has received accolades from scholars and has earned her numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, three Grammy Awards and, in 2013, the Literarian Award, given by the National Book Foundation. Her contributions have been recognized by scholars worldwide, and she has received more than 50 honorary degrees.
It is virtually impossible to articulate all of the Dr. Angelou’s accomplishments in a few hundred words. However, what I can simply state is that she is one of the greatest and notable African American women that ever lived. Her love for humanity, equality and women has not only touched the lives of her community but it has also touched a nation. At the age of 85, Dr. Maya Angelou is still gifted with the ability to create and inspire. And she continues to leave a lasting impression through innovative poetry and uplifting words of wisdom. Dr. May Angelou, phenomenal woman.
“No sun outlasts its sunset but will rise again and bring the dawn.”