You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. (Letter to My Daughter)
Best known for her autobiographical I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou has led a multifaceted life as celebrated poet, author, educator, civil rights activist, and many things besides. After being raped by her mother's boyfriend when she was seven and a half, Angelou turned mute for the next five years, during which time she imbibed writers like Shakespeare, Poe, and Matthew Arnold. Angelou's unflinchingly honest memoirs are inspired by, and continue to inspire, the belief that the individual must never finally settle for defeat. Throughout her career, Angelou has expanded her body of work in a plethora of ways; embracing her reputation as "the people's poet," she has even created signature Hallmark greeting cards. To pay tribute to this great voice of our nation on her 84th birthday, here are some of her best quotes.