Today the poet, activist, memoirist, Maya Angelou passed away. As a tribute, we offer her most poignant words of wisdom.

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Maya Angelou became famous for her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Her story described the harsh realities of living in the Jim Crow south from the perspective of a young, black woman. She was one of the first female African American authors to reach a wide readership, and was a champion of women’s rights and race relations for the rest of her life. Her writing carried a unique ability to impart vivid imagery in sparse, yet lyrical phrases. Whether in her poetry or her famous memoirs, Maya Angelou spoke with a fearless honesty that gave the Civil Rights Movement the empowered voice it needed.

Maya Angelo’s quotes are succinct and effortlessly speak to universal experiences. Below are some of our favorite quotes from her work and her public speaking.

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[images sourced from Tumblr, Sature, and Our Time Organization, Parade]