Maya Angelou, Lyrical Witness of the Jim Crow South, Dies at 86
By MARGALIT FOX
MAY 28, 2014
Maya Angelou, the memoirist and poet whose landmark book of 1969, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — which describes in lyrical, unsparing prose the author’s girlhood in the Jim Crow South — was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on Wednesday in her home. She was 86 and lived in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Her death was confirmed by her longtime literary agent, Helen Brann. No immediate cause of death had been determined, but Ms. Brann said Ms. Angelou had been in frail health for some time and had had heart problems.
As well known as she was for her memoirs, which eventually filled six volumes, Ms. Angelou (pronounced AHN-zhe-lo) very likely received her widest exposure on a chilly January day in 1993, when she delivered the inaugural poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the swearing-in of Bill Clinton, the nation’s 42nd president, who, like Ms. Angelou, had grown up poor in rural Arkansas.
She has received over 50 honorary degrees and was Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
Angelou is famous for saying, “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.”
Bar sketch, with Pryor as an alcoholic named ‘Willie’, and featuring John Belushi as the bartender. Willie arrives at home, where his wife (Maya Angelou) expresses her feelings on her husband’s behavior, as he’s passed out on the sofa
13 of Maya Angelou’s best quotes
American author and poet Maya Angelou has died, according to media reports.
She was known for her prolific words. USA TODAY Network lists 13 of her best quotes.
1. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
2. “I am a Woman
3. “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.”
4. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
5. “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.”
6. “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.”
7. “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
8. “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.”
9. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
10. “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”
11. “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.”
12. “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
13. “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”