Maya Angelou

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” ~ Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou, world renowned writer and activist, Dr. Maya passed quietly in her home on May 28, 2014.  She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with numerous plays and TV shows spanning over half a century.  She received numerous of awards for her work.  Angelou is best known for her first book,  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), which tells of her life up to the age of seventeen.  Til this day this book is taught in schools worldwide.  She was a woman who lived in the Jim Crow South who turned her pain into art, and art into activism.

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” ~ Maya Angelou

A lot of times, people pretty much have a good idea of who are the Civil Rights heroes. And the list usually goes like this: MLK, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks.  If this is the case, We will not forget Maya Angelou on this day.

“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.” ~ Maya Angelou

She was highly active in the Civil Rights movement stark contrast with other female freedom writers, she had plenty of words said that made all people — from black to white — ponder.  Diverse in thought, she worked with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.  Since the 1990s she made many lectures in colleges and similar venues.  She recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton‘s inauguration in 1993.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~ Maya Angelou

With I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life.  She was highly respected as a spokesperson of black people and black women.  When agents of white superiority attacks black people via attacking black “urban” culture, her works have been used in defending black people by large.  Attempts have been made to ban her books from some US libraries, but her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide.  You might remember much of her first book in elementary school.  Most of her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel.  The quote on reduction above resonates the most on the fact that she overcame so much in her life, from being black to being simply a black writer with powers to be failing to characterize her work as an American treasure.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~ Maya Angelou

So Maya Angelou and the Angelou family, you are not forgotten.  As a solid bookworm, I was inspired by her poetry… and now look, I’m writing.  May you be blessed, Dr. Angelou, for you were definitely one of the good ones.

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