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Maya Angelou Quotes to Get Us Through 2020

Get Inspired: Maya Angelou Quotes You Need to Read Now

It was Maya Angelou’s work that convinced me my words had worth. And it was her life’s story that taught me I could survive my own past. Poems and quotes by Maya Angelou were the salve my soul needed. And, with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg many of us need her words now more than ever.

Maya Angelou is well known for her incredible works of poetry, lesser known is the period of time early on in her life when she lost words altogether. Raped at only seven years of age, Maya Angelou stopped speaking after her rapist was found dead. She thought he had been killed because she had spoken his name. So she stopped speaking for five years.

Those five years of silence were pivotal for her. But I’ll let her tell you that story in her own words.

A writer, singer, actor, dancer, mother and so much more, the story of Maya Angelou’s life is simply inspiring. Every woman should watch the documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. I promise, there is at least one nugget of gold you will take away from her personal journey that will empower and help guide yours. Especially now. The story of Maya Angelou is one of survival. She survived the worst circumstances and then thrived in a world that didn’t want her to.

Sound familiar?

2020 has found us in difficult and dangerous times. We live in a country led by a man who is turning the presidency into a dictatorship, and there’s a whole bunch of people who thrive on his racism and misogyny and support him. After losing one of the few people left keeping our country from falling completely into the hands of the far right, many of us are feeling the fight drain out of us. But now is not the time. The following are just a very few of the many quotes Maya Angelou shared with the world before she left this earth. May they help lift and motivate you as we make our way through the election season and the rest of 2020.

20 Maya Angelou Quotes

maya angelou quotes

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. -MA

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – MA

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible. -MA

“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

“My great blessing is my son, but I have daughters. I have white ones and Black ones and fat ones and thin ones and pretty ones and plain. I have gay ones and straight. I have daughters. I have Asian ones, I have Jewish ones, I have Muslim ones.” -MA

“I was told many years ago by my grandmother who raised me: If somebody puts you on a road and you don’t feel comfortable on it and you look ahead and you don’t like the destination and you look behind and you don’t want to return to that place, step off the road.” -MA

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

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” -MA

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” -Maya Angelou

“You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.” -Maya Angelou

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” -Maya Angelou

“If someone shows you who they really are, believe them.” -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

Maya Angelou Quotes

“Grace is like a lake of drinkable water right outside your door. But you stay inside and die of thirst.” -Maya Angelou

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

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

“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.” -Maya Angelou

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


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Annette Benedetti
Annette Benedetti
Annette is a writer, editor and photographer from Portland, OR. Her work appears in a variety of publications including Bust, Red Tricycle, Motherly and Domino. When she’s away from her desk she can be found teaching women yoga at wilderness retreats, exploring new cities across the states and hiking the trails at Mt. Rainier—one of her favorite places on earth.
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