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In her own words: Maya Angelou's words of inspiration

Wednesday - 5/28/2014, 10:41am  ET

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WASHINGTON -- Poet and author Maya Angelou died Wednesday at 86 years old, but her inspirational words live on forever.

Here are some of the memorable things she said over the years.

  • "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."

  • "We are only as blind as we want to be."

  • "To grow up is to stop putting blame on parents."

  • "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."

  • "I'm grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love - for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I'm grateful to know that it exists."

  • "You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive."

  • "My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors."

  • "Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible."

  • "I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back."

  • "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."

  • "Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean."

  • "Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

  • "One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

  • "We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated."

  • "My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return."

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