Last week, Earth lost one of her most beautiful human beings.  It can be said that Maya Angelou is now in fact an angel, looking down on us mere human beings with the same superiority she probably felt but could not express during her time here.  Though, on the topic of expression, if she did ever express her complete superiority, it would have been lyrical and moving and we probably would not have felt offended anyways.


In honor of her passing, we present selected quotations from her famous works:


“I believe that each of us comes from the creator trailing wisps of glory.”

Here she says, in her unique style of eloquence, “He who smelt it, dealt it.”


“I am a Woman


Phenomenal Woman,

that’s me.”

With this passage from one of her most famous and touching poems, Angelou embraced her own phenomenal proportions and urged other women to do the same.  She was truly a role-model in that respect.


“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.”

As an advocate for great literature, we can see just how much she looked up to the work, Ender’s Game.  Her sentiment here is just the same as the one promoting excessive violence in that novel: you have to make them remember the pain of being beat so you will win all future fights as well.


“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

However poetic she may have been, Angelou also was guilty of bending the truth.  As many people who have taken at least an introductory chemistry course would know, when elements are reduced, they have little choice in whether or not they gain those electrons.  But, we see what you were going for there, Maya.  “A” for effort!


“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to [iThrive@Stanford]; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Lastly, and most importantly, Maya Angelou knew the importance of humor and flair.  If you can just look past the slight typo that we have corrected, you can see just how truly great Angelou really was.  She will be greatly missed by everyone, and especially by activist-types.


Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

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