Frequently, I have been asked how I got to be this way. How did I, born black in a white country, poor in a society where wealth is adored and sought after at all costs, female in an environment where only large ships and some engines are described favourably by using the female pronoun-how did I get to be Maya Angelou?
When Great Trees FallWhen great trees fall,rocks on distant hills shudder,lions hunker downin tall grasses,and even elephantslumber after safety.When great trees fallin forests,small things recoil into silence,their senseseroded beyond fear.When great souls die,the air around us becomeslight, rare, sterile.We breathe, briefly.Our eyes, briefly,see witha hurtful clarity.Our memory, suddenly sharpened,examines,gnaws on kind wordsunsaid,promised walksnever taken.Great souls die andour reality, bound tothem, takes leave of us.Our souls,dependent upon theirnurture,now shrink, wizened.Our minds, formedand informed by theirradiance,fall away.We are not so much maddenedas reduced to the unutterable ignoranceof dark, coldcaves.And when great souls die,after a period peace blooms,slowly and alwaysirregularly. Spaces fillwith a kind ofsoothing electric vibration.Our senses, restored, neverto be the same, whisper to us.They existed. They existed.We can be. Be and bebetter. For they existed.
Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.
The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time she is caught in the tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice, white illogical hate and Black lack of power.The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors and deserves respect if not enthusiastic admiration.
Even great, best selling writers produce works that fall flat from expectations. This writing thing isn't easy and everything you produce won't be a best seller, but you must write anyway. You have to write because you love it, because it fuels you, because you can feel the stories living inside you, nudging you, prodding you, itching to get out and the only thing worse than writing it and failing is not writing it. As the late Maya Angelou once said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."Even if your work doesn't resonate with others, it is still worth writing. And that in itself, is what's important.
The kindnesses … I never forget them. And so they keep one from becoming bitter. They encourage you to be as strong, as volatile as necessary to make a well world. Those people who gave me so much, and still give me so much, have a passion about them. And they encourage the passion in me. I’m very blessed that I have a healthy temper. I can become quite angry and burning in anger, but I have never been bitter. Bitterness is a corrosive, terrible acid. It just eats you and makes you sick.
The needs of a society determine its ethics, and in the Black American ghettos the hero is that man who is offered only the crumbs from his country's table but by ingenuity and courage is able to take for himself a Lucullan feast. Hence the janitor who lives in one room but sports a robin's-egg-blue Cadillac is not laughed at but admired, and the domestic who buys forty-dollar shoes is not criticized but is appreciated. We know that they have put to use their full mental and physical powers. Each single gain feeds into the gains of the body collective.
Take a day to heal from the lies you’ve told yourself and the ones that have been told to you.
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.
People whose history and future were threatened each day by extinction considered that it was only by divine intervention that they were able to live at all. 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 at a commensurate speed.