In case you didn’t know by know, Maya Angelou is one of our all time favourite people. Born in Missouri in 1928, Maya had a very difficult childhood as she grew up in a time when the blacks and whites in the South were still segregated. Her family life was unstable at times but she flourished, and over her life worked as cook, waitress, sex-worker, dancer, actor, playwright, editor at an Egyptian newspaper, Calypso singerand opera cast member before becoming a writer. Maya authored over 30 books, received more than 50 honorary degrees and won 3 grammys in her lifetime.

If one has courage,
nothing can dim
the light which shines
from within.

If you haven’t heard the story of how she became the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco, watch it here, its a doozy..

Her famous poem, “Still I Rise,” is an anthem for anyone who has faced a challenge, experienced trauma, or been marginalized in this world.

Read it, read it again, print it and keep it with you, and rise like the star you are.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
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.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

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