Hear her unforgettable baritone read poems like "Phenomenal Woman" and "Still I Rise," and gain serious wisdom from her interviews and appearances. Have tissues ready.
Posted on May 28, 2014, at 12:41 p.m. ET
Her powerful baritone reminds us to persevere, to rise above — and that the human spirit is indomitable. Her short preamble to those famous lines is especially poignant:
"It’s amazing;wherever there abides any human being,there is the nobleness of the human spirit.Despite it all, Black and white, Asian, Spanish, native American; Pretty, plain; thin, fat; Vowed or celibate – We rise"
It's hard to think that those two words even existed until Dr. Angelou spoke them together.
"I've got a magic charmThat I keep up my sleeveI can walk the ocean floorAnd never have to breathe. Life doesn't frighten me at allNot at allNot at all. Life doesn't frighten me at all."
"We will not forget you, we will not dishonor you, we will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us all." Watch the full video of this poem, too.
"Here, root yourselves beside me. I am that Tree planted by the River, Which will not be moved. I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree I am yours -- your passages have been paid. Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need For this bright morning dawning for you. History, despite its wrenching pain Cannot be unlived, but if faced With courage, need not be lived again.Lift up your eyes upon This day breaking for you. Give birth again To the dream."
"I like it. I was born with the name Marguerite Johnson. However I had a brother, my brother was two years older than I, and a smartie-patootie. And he had a lisp and he stuttered. So he couldn't say Marguerite, so he called me 'Mai.' And then, when he was about nine, he read about the Mayan Indians, and how proud they were, and how beautiful they were, and so he named me...Maya. And he refused to allow me to answer to any other name, since I was Maya."
Dr. Angelou remembers her mother's voice: "If you'd leave her alone and she'd open this magnificent voice out, like hot gold...like melting gold, it seemed to me."
"Everyone has within herself, within himself, this place of morality from which he or she shall never be persuaded or swayed...I shall not be moved from here. If young men and women knew that, if children knew that, early on, if they were told 'darling, within yourself you have a place so inviolate, that no one, no mother, father, brother, no teacher, no boss has the right to invade, that's the place you go when you reach for that last breath — ah — and can't get it. And face your creator, or whatever that is. That place should be pristine...in everybody.'"
A round of applause and a moment of joy to remember a long life that gave so many people so much joy.
Julia Furlan is an audio editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Furlan at email@example.com.
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