Maya Angelou

Image: Burns Library, Boston College via Flickr CC

Earlier this week, news broke and spread like wildfire of Dr. Maya Angelou’s passing. Angelou, referred to widely as a “global renaissance woman” for her ability to thrive in countless fields in spite of her abusive upbringing, is one of the most iconic voices of our time. A beloved linguist, memoirist, outspoken human rights activist, cultivator of the arts, and influential public figure, Maya Angelou’s passing is a true loss, but her legacy will live on in those whose lives she has touched through her words, writings, and humanitarian work.

In what would be one of her last public statements, Angelou tweeted, “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God,” ever eloquent and stirring even on one of the most limiting social media platforms that exist. For many, Angelou’s words are what will remain the most inspiring thing about the cultural icon as her legacy endures. Here are some of her most beloved writings and quotations:

“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” From Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” From Letter to My Daughter

“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

“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.”

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” From Letter to My Daughter

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

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