Even if you haven’t read any of her books, you surely know her name.

Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in 1928, the poet was honoured in beautiful doodle that featured her voice, along with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Laverne Cox and America Ferrera narrating what is arguably her best-known poem, Still I Rise.

The Nobel Laureate was born into a life that has been marred by sheer horror. From racism to rape (she was, according to Refinery29, raped by her mother’s boyfriend at the age of 7 and became mute for six years), Maya’s life started out as a series of heartbreaking moments after another.

READ MORE: Someone I know has been a victim of sexual assault/rape (or someone they know has): how can I best support them?

And yet…  The Still I Rise author rose up and became

  • an active voice fighting for the rights of the black community
  • went on to publish more than 30 books
  • became one of the first black women to be a member of the Directors Guild of America
  • to this day, is still hailed for I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – a novel that to this day is relevant, and maybe even more so now given that this book showed that women have been talking about sexual assault, rape and abuse for much longer than the #MeToo movement started.

Here are some of our favourite quotes from books and poems written by Dr Maya Angelou, who died on May 28, 2014:

“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.”
“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.”

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

And of course, her beautiful poem, Still I Rise

Watch the Doodle below:

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