10 Maya Angelou Quotes We'll Never Forget

Sad news today: Author, poet, and all-round powerhouse Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86. Better writers than me will no doubt be taking to the Internet to extol her importance to feminism, the literary world, the black experience in America, and more in the coming days, so here, I'm going to let her speak for herself. In her own words, here are just a few lessons we've learned from her in the past — and lessons which we would all do well to carry forward in the future.

1. On Learning from Our Mistakes:

2. On Forgiveness:

3. On Self-Confidence:

- "Phenomenal Woman"

Angelou at the Carolina Theater, Greensboro, NC in 2008.

4. On Owning It:

- "Still I Rise"

5. On Love:

- "A Brave and Startling Truth"

And we're not just talking about romantic love, either — it's love of all things and people. Sounds cliché, but it’s true. Here’s why:

Angelou at the Clinton inauguration in 1993.

6. On Agency:

Angelou talked a lot about agency and taking responsibility for your actions. This quote is probably my favorite of them. We can't always control what's going on in our lives, but we can control how we react to them.

7. On Living Life to Its Fullest:

8. On Being a Part of Something Bigger Than Ourselves:


Regardless as to whether you believe in a higher power or not, this is a comforting thought.

Craig Barritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

9. On Doing the Right Thing:

Angelou was quoting her mother here in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; it's definitely a lesson worth taking to heart.

10. On Enacting Change:

Images: York College ISLGP/Flickr, Wiki Commons, Wiki Commons