This past week, the world lost a truly great human being, Dr. Maya Angelou.
The above photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license via Wikipedia Commons.
On her official website, her son, Guy B. Johnson, posted this announcement:
Statement from Dr. Maya Angelou’s Family: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.
A Brief Biography of Dr. Maya Angelou
There is an old rhyme that begins like this:
Monday’s child is fair of face. Tuesday’s child is full of grace. Wednesday’s child is loving and giving...
Dr. Maya Angelou was a Wednesday child, both on the day of her birth and her passing.
She was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928.
She passed away in Winston-Salem, NC on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.
By the time she was 3, her parents divorced. She and her brother Bailey Johnson Jr. went to live with their grandmother in a segregated section of Stamps, Arkansas (35 miles east of Texarkansas,) where the ignorance and brutality of racial discrimination was rampant.
Maya was raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was 8 years old. When her uncles found out, they kicked the rapist to death.
Despite these atrocities, she developed a strong faith.
As a young girl, Maya fell in love with the arts; with singing, dancing, and poetry.
At 12, she moved with her mother and brother to San Francisco where she began dance lessons.
At 16, she had a son and later worked in San Diego as a cook, a nightclub waitress, and for a time fell into drug abuse and prostitution.
But she rose above, for her star was yet to shine.
In her mid-to-late 20’s, Maya won the role of Carla in Porgy and Bess and toured 22 countries.
There was so much to her life. You can read an overview of Maya Angelou’s accomplishments here, but during her 86 years she was a/an:
- actor, having roles in several movies, some of which were Roots (Nyo Boto), Poetic Justice (Aunt June Calendar), and Madea’s Family Reunion (May.)
- civil rights activist, having met Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before their untimely assassinations.
- director and film producer
- inspiring and prolific author, including 7 historical autobiographies, 3 books of personal essays.
- narrator in the documentary The Black Candle.
- passionate healer of hearts
- powerful poet whose words touched countless lives and whose words live on to inspire us.
- playwright of 6 plays
- teacher, educating many children through 7 children’s books, PBS specials and National Education videos.
- translator, having studied and mastered several languages.
If you wish to see an overview of Maya Angelou’s works, click here.
25 Quotations of Maya Angelou To Live By
- A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
- A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.
- Be present in all things and thankful for all things.
- Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
- Courage is the most important of all virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.
- Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.
- History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
- I believe that each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory.
- If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone to be good to me?
- If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
- If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.
- 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.
- Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
- 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.
- My mission in life is to not merely to survive – but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.
- Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
- One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
- There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
- We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
- We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.
- When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
- When you learn, teach. When you get, give.
- You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.
- 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 of you.
- You may not control all of the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
You can find more wonderful words of Maya Angelou’s wisdom in the 16 books she wrote, offered through her official website here.
This short YouTube video features Dr. Maya Angelou’s message… Be a Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud
Dr. Maya Angelou’s legacy is the God-given wisdom she imparted to the world.
Now, it’s the world’s turn to act upon these words and to live them out.
Be a blessing to somebody! Be Love To Others!
Her last message on Twitter on May 23rd says it all:
“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.“
Maya Angelou will be remembered as a great human being and a wonderful humanitarian.
Join In On The Conversation…
What do you like about Maya Angelou?
Which of her quotes speaks most to you?
What Maya Angelou books or movies do you like best and why?
Share your valuable thoughts here.
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