Dre Maya Angelou

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Today, Maya Angelou has passed away. She was 86. A major figure in the Civil Rights Movement who worked directly with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008 but also an award-winning writer, poet, and actress. The oft-lauded Angelou was set to receive the “Beacon of Life Award” as part of Major League Baseball’s annual Civil Rights Games. She was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and repeat White House guest, reading the poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Clinton’s 1993 inauguration. The original composition was published and sold more than 1 million copies. In her last post via Twitter, Angelou offered one parting bit of advice:

 

“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

 

During her extraordinary eight-plus decades of life, Angelou was often on the front lines of history and pop culture. She was mentored by Baldwin and was a mentor to Oprah Winfrey. She worked for both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. and befriended Nelson Mandela. Her final autobiographical volume, “A Song Flung up to Heaven,” was published in 2002.

The Political world mourns Maya Angelou. Here some statements made today, reguarding her passing :

Former Vice President Al Gore: “Today marks the passing of Maya Angelou, whose passionate and timeless voice for empathy, passion and humanity touched millions. Throughout her life, Dr. Angelou eloquently presented a powerful and unique expression of what we can become and what we must leave behind…”

President Obama: “Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time — a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman. Over the course of her remarkable life, Maya was many things — an author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer. But above all, she was a storyteller — and her greatest stories were true. A childhood of suffering and abuse actually drove her to stop speaking — but the voice she found helped generations of Americans find their rainbow amidst the clouds, and inspired the rest of us to be our best selves. In fact, she inspired my own mother to name my sister Maya…”

Former President Bill Clinton: “With Maya Angelou’s passing, America has lost a national treasure; and Hillary and I, a beloved friend. The poems and stories she wrote and read to us in her commanding voice were gifts of wisdom and wit, courage and grace. I will always be grateful for her electrifying reading of “On the Pulse of Morning” at my first inaugural, and even more for all the years of friendship that followed. Now she sings the songs the Creator gave to her when the river “and the tree and the stone were one.” Our deepest sympathies are with Guy and his family.”

Gov. Cuomo: “Today we mourn the passing and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou, whose voice, passion, and life has left a lasting influence on our state and nation. Dr. Angelou was deeply involved in our nation’s Civil Rights movement and spent her life helping ensure that dignity, respect and opportunity were extended to all men and women. Her poetry and prose were an extension of her love and hope for humanity, a testimony of wisdom and strength that will continue to inspire generations of Americans.

The Reverend Al Sharpton: “Maya Angelou was the quintessential renaissance woman of the 20th century art and human rights movements. Not only was she a literary icon, she was one of the few that turned her words into action. Although she participated in civil rights rallies, she challenged leaders of the civil rights movement to embrace the struggles of others and a broader view of freedom fighting. She challenged misogyny in the movement and was our poet, conscience, teacher and corrector. She was one of the few people whose presence you felt in the room even if she didn’t say a word. Her spirit was incomparable.”

Maya Angelou’s words have resonated with her audiences for years, as they were often full of inspiration and strength. She had a way of saying the simplest of things in the most eloquent of ways. Her first autobiography ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, published in 1969, resulted in international recognition and led to six more autobiographies and a number of poetry anthologies.

Here some of her quotes :

On love:

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

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

“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.”

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

On writing:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story within you.”

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

On work:

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

“All great achievements require time.”

“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.”

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”

On life:

“I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”

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

“I love to see a young girl go out there and grab the world by the labels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

“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.”

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

“Don’t trust people who don’t laugh”

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way [s]he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

“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.”

Stephanie P.

 

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