Maya Angelou Quotes



This collection of Maya Angelou quotes covers a variety of topics that are sure to encourage you, lift your spirits, and give you the strength and courage to face life victoriously.

In 1995, she was recognized for having the longest-running record (two years) on The New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller List.

I first became interested in Maya Angelou’s work after watching the Oprah show and finding out that Maya was a mentor to Oprah. Since I’m a big fan of Oprah, I had to check out Maya Angelou’s work. I have to say, I’m impressed with her wisdom and understand why Oprah thinks so highly of her. I hope you enjoy these quotes as much as I do!



Adversity

Flourishing Banyan Tree :: Rooted in Strength T-shirt

I can be changed by what happens to me. but I refuse to be reduced by it.
~ Maya Angelou

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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.
~ Maya Angelou

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

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
~ Maya Angelou

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. Please remember that your difficulties do not define you. They simply strengthen your ability to overcome.
~ Maya Angelou

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.
~ Maya Angelou

When it looked like the sun wasn't going to shine any more, there's a rainbow in the clouds.
~ Maya Angelou

Someone was hurt before you;
wronged before you;
beaten before you;
humiliated before you;
raped before you;
yet, someone SURVIVED.
~ Maya Angelou

I speak to the black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition - about what we can endure, dream, fail at, and still survive.
~ Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
~ Maya Angelou


God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us- in the dreariest and most dreaded moments- can see a possibility of hope.
~ Maya Angelou

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Anger

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
~ Maya Angelou

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Beauty

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

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Best Wishes

When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace,
love, prosperity, happiness... all the good things.
~ Maya Angelou

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Books by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adulthood experiences:

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Change

Flourishing Banyan Tree :: Rooted in Strength T-shirt

I can be changed by what happens to me. but I refuse to be reduced by it.
~ Maya Angelou

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If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
~ Maya Angelou

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Courage

African Woman with Maya Angelou quote Shirt

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
~ Maya Angelou

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Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
~ Maya Angelou

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.
~ Maya Angelou

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.
~ Maya Angelou

There is an amazing something in the American psyche which speaks about courage, and it says, 'Yes I can,' ... Yes, we will overcome it all because we have the spirit to do so.
~ Maya Angelou

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Creativity

“Creativity is like electricity.
We don't understand how it works... we just use it.”
~ Maya Angelou

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Cynic

There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.
~ Maya Angelou

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Daring

I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.
~ Maya Angelou

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Diversity

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.
~ Maya Angelou

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
~ Maya Angelou

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Education

Education helps one case cease being intimidated by strange situations.
~ Maya Angelou

Some people unable to go to school were more educated and even more intelligent than college professors.
~ Maya Angelou

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Forgiveness

I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.
~ Maya Angelou

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Freedom

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.
~ Maya Angelou

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Friendship

The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear.
~ Maya Angelou

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Future

The future is plump with promise.
~ Maya Angelou

The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change.
~ Maya Angelou

Lift up your eyes upon. This day breaking for you. Give birth again. To the dream.
~ Maya Angelou

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Giving

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
~ Maya Angelou

One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it.
~ Maya Angelou

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God

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I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility.
~ Maya Angelou

It is this belief in a power larger than myself and other than myself which allows me to venture into the unknown and even the unknowable.
~ Maya Angelou

Of all the needs (there are none imaginary) a lonely child has, the one that must be satisfied, if there is going to be hope and a hope of wholeness, is the unshaken need for an unshakable God.
~ Maya Angelou

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Grandmother

Had I not had my grandmother, who dared to be my rainbow in the clouds, I would have been just another sexually abused barefoot black girl on the roads of Arkansas.
~ Maya Angelou

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Greatness

Something made greater by ourselves and in turn that makes us greater.
~ Maya Angelou

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Happiness

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
~ Maya Angelou

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Home

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
~ Maya Angelou

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
~ Maya Angelou

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Hope

Just as hope rings through laughter, it can also shine through tears.
~ Maya Angelou

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How to Treat Others

Maya Angelou's Quote Tee Shirt

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

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While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation.
~ Maya Angelou

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Living Life

I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.

I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.

I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.

People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Love life, engage in it, give it all you've got. love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.
~ Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life'.
~ Maya Angelou

Living a life is like constructing a building: if you start wrong, you'll end wrong.
~ Maya Angelou

Life loves the liver of it.
~ Maya Angelou

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
~ Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
~ Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
~ Maya Angelou

Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the road which lie ahead and those over which we have traveled, and if the feature road looms ominous or unpromising, and the road back uninviting-inviting, then we need to gather our resolve and carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that one as well.
~ Maya Angelou

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.
~ Maya Angelou

I try to live what I consider a "poetic existence." That means I take responsibility for the air I breathe and the space I take up. I try to be immediate, to be totally present for all my work.
~ Maya Angelou

The main thing in one's own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.
~ Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's Quote Tee Shirt

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

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Love

Love builds up the broken wall and straightens the crooked path.
Love keeps the stars in the firmament and imposes rhythm on to ocean tides each of us is created of it and I suspect each of us was created for it.
~ Maya Angelou

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.
~ Maya Angelou

Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.
~ Maya Angelou

The honorary duty of a human being is to love.
~ Maya Angelou

If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.”
~ Maya Angelou

I do not trust people who don't love themselves and yet tell me, 'I love you.' There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.
~ Maya Angelou

Have enough courage to trust love one more time. And always one more time.
~ Maya Angelou

You rose into my life like a promised sunrise, brightening my days with the light in your eyes. I've never been so strong. Now I'm where I belong.
~ Maya Angelou

In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.
~ Maya Angelou

If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.
~ Maya Angelou

When I passed forty I dropped pretense, 'cause men like women who got some sense'.
~ Maya Angelou

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Men

When a man tells you who he is...believe him.
~ Maya Angelou

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Mother

To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.
~ Maya Angelou

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Mugs for Maya Angelou Lovers

Buy this lovely mug
with the following Maya Angelou quote:

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


Another great Maya Mug with the following quote:

“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.”
― Maya Angelou


Get this mug
with the following Maya Angelou quote:

“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer,
it sings because it has a song.”
― Maya Angelou


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People

In all my work what I try to say is that as human beings we are more alike than we are unalike.
~ Maya Angelou

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
~ Maya Angelou

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Reach Your Potential

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
~ Maya Angelou

Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.
~ Maya Angelou

I believe that every person is born with talent.
~ Maya Angelou

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Self-Pity

Self-pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.
~ Maya Angelou

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Strength

The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.
~ Maya Angelou

You rose into my life like a promised sunrise, brightening my days with the light in your eyes. I've never been so strong. Now I'm where I belong.
~ Maya Angelou

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Success

Nothing will work unless you do.
~ Maya Angelou

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
~ Maya Angelou

All great achievements require time.
~ Maya Angelou

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 you.
~ Maya Angelou

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.
~ Maya Angelou

Achievement brings its own anticlimax.
~ Maya Angelou

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Surrender

At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.
~ Maya Angelou

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Talent

I believe talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it. You can plug into it and light up a lamp, keep a heart pump going, light a cathedral, or you can electrocute a person with it. Electricity will do all that. It makes no judgment. I think talent is like that. I believe every person is born with talent.
~ Maya Angelou

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Time

Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence--neither speed up nor slow down, add to nor diminish--it is an imponderably valuable gift.
~ Maya Angelou

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.
~ Maya Angelou

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Truth

There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
~ Maya Angelou

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T-shirts for Maya Angelou Lovers

This T-shirt has a Banyan Tree on the front with the captions “Rooted in Strength” and “Flourishing Potential.”

The back contains the following Maya Angelou quote:

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou


Beautiful T with the following Maya quote:

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
― Maya Angelou



A great T-shirt to live by with classic Maya quote:

“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


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Wisdom

Listen carefully to what country people call mother wit. In those homely sayings are couched the collective wisdom of generations.
~ Maya Angelou

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Women

Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible and live long lives.
~ Maya Angelou

A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.
~ Maya Angelou

I am a woman phenomenally, phenomenal woman that is your grandmother, that is your mother, that is your sister, that is you and that is me.
~ Maya Angelou

Most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise.
~ Maya Angelou

The sadness of the women's movement is that they don't allow the necessity of love. See, I don't personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.
~ Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou Quotes Index

Adversity
Anger
Beauty
Best Wishes
Books by Maya Angeleou
Change
Courage
Creativity
Cynic
Daring
Diversity
Education
Forgiveness
Freedom
Friendship
Future
Giving
God
Grandmother
Greatness
Happiness
Home
Hope
How to Treat Others
Living Life
Love
Men
Mother
Mugs for Maya Lovers
People
Reach Your Potential
Self-Pity
Strength
Success
Surrender
Talent
Time
Truth
T-Shirts for Maya Lovers
Wisdom
Women

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