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Happy 90th Birthday Maya Angelou

By April 4, 2018January 13th, 2020No Comments
dr maya angelou receives presidential medal of freedom 2010 from president obama

Unfortunately, Maya Angelou passed away in 2014. She was a poet, singer, dancer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She was brutally honest with her stories about her “less than perfect life.” She was brutally honest in her autobiographies hoping readers would learn it is never too late to have confidence in yourself, have confidence to do the right thing, and have confidence to do good in the world.

Maya Angelou published over a dozen books including autobiographies, essays, poetry, plays, and movie scripts. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Here are just a few examples:

  • Maya Angelou received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2010 (YouTube)
  • Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie
  • Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1973 Broadway play Look Away
  • Three Grammy’s for her spoken word albums
  • Coretta Scott King Award in 1971
  • Ladies’ Home Journal “Top 100 Most Influential Women” in 1983
  • Mother Teresa Award in 2006

Maya Angelou’s daughter wrote a touching note on the Maya Angelou website. Here is the first paragraph:

As we spend what would have been my mother’s ninetieth birthday, I think of her melodious tones speaking about the need for tolerance, understanding, forgiveness and love. My mother’s perspective was that human beings being social animals are strongest when they are unified. She saw hatred and greed, not only as divisive, but as the forces of evil. She recognized that unlike positive virtues, neither greed nor hatred has to be taught; they come naturally and have to be untaught in order to free their possessor of their burdensome weight and baggage. She saw one of our greatest challenges was learning to love ourselves, then having the courage and the wisdom to love others. She often said, “We don’t know how or why love occurs. Truthfully, we don’t know that even gravity isn’t a kind of love.” She felt that love was one of the most important emotions and was an instrumental key to unlocking the inner doors of our ignorance and fear.


Photography Source:  Header from screengrab of White House Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony video; Other images from Google

google-created quote in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou's 90th Birthday

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

– From “Still I Rise,” Dr. Maya Angelou

google-created quote in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou's 90th Birthday

I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.

– Dr. Maya Angelou

google-created quote in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou's 90th Birthday

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

– From “Still I Rise,” Dr. Maya Angelou

google-created doodle in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou's 90th Birthday

This is my all-time favorite quote:

People will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Dr. Maya Angelou

Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.