Even if you don’t know the first thing about her, you have probably heard the name Maya Angelou. How could you not? She was an American poet, a singer, and a civil rights activist with towering influence.

Sadly, the world lost her in 2014, but her work and her inspirational life continues to help many and give them direction in this life. Throughout her life, she was honored with countless awards for her works, which have appeared in movies, television shows, books and other places.

There is practically nothing Maya Angelou didn’t try as a young adult, including being a nightclub dancer and a sex worker.

So, hers is the ultimate underdog success story because with no economic or social privilege; she became a social icon and a woman who changed the world with her work.

Maya even rubbed shoulders with other greats in the Civil Rights Movement such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She was also a noted spokesperson for women’s rights. 

In her youth, she survived the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, harsh economic times under the care of her grandmother, and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. Following the incident, she was mute for five years over the guilt she felt when the man was murdered, supposedly by her uncles.

So, it was against all odds that Maya Angelou became the raging phenomenon she had turned out to be by the time of her passing.

Here are some unforgettable quotes she left behind for us.  

1. 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. – Maya Angelou

2. It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. – Maya Angelou

3. I think that that’s the wisest thing – to prevent illness before we try to cure something. – Maya Angelou

4. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. – Maya Angelou

5. Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou

6. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou

7. I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it. – Maya Angelou

8. 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. – Maya Angelou

9. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou

10. You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. – Maya Angelou

11. If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die. – Maya Angelou

12. All great achievements require time. – Maya Angelou

Powerful, inspiring, empowering, and eye-opening. No wonder the world will never forget her.