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A Song Flung Up to Heaven

Maya Angelou

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Believe people when they tell you who they are. They know themselves better than you.”

“She lived life as if it had been created just for her”

“Jimmy said, "We survived slavery. Think about that. Not because we were strong. The American Indians were strong, and they were on their own land. But they have not survived genocide. You know how we survived?" I said nothing. "We put surviving into our poems and into our songs. We put it into our folk tales. We danced surviving in Congo Square in New Orleans and put it in our pots when we cooked pinto beans. We wore surviving on our backs when we clothed ourselves in the colors of the rainbow. We were pulled down so low we could hardly lift our eyes, so we knew, if we wanted to survive, we had better lift our own spirits. So we laughed whenever we got the chance.”

“For years, I had known that there is nothing idle about curiosity, despite the fact that the two words are often used in tandem. Curiosity fidgets, is hard to satisfy, looks for answers even before forming questions.”

“Black females, for the most part, know by the time they are ten years old that the world is not much concerned with the quality of their lives or even their lives at all. When politicians and salespeople start being kind to black women, seeking them out, offering them largesse, the women accept the soft voices, the simpering statements, the often idle promises, because those are likely to be the only flattering behavior directed to them that day. Behind the women's eyes, however, there is a wisdom that does not pretend to be unaware; nor does it permit gullibility.”

“He was right. I would only eke out a living as a singer. The limited success I had, which Bailey recognized, stemmed from the fact that I didn't love singing. My voice was fair and interesting; my ear was not great, or even good, but my rhythm was reliable. Still, I could never become a great singer, since I would not sacrifice for it. To become wondrously successful and to sustain that success in any profession, one must be willing to relinquish many pleasures and be ready to postpone gratification. I didn't care enough for my own singing to make other people appreciate it.”

“Death of a beloved flattens and dulls everything. Connections do not adhere so closely, and important events lose some of their glow.”

“Couples rarely know how much their togetherness shuts others out, and even if they did, there would be nothing they could do, save make everyone painfully self-conscious.”

“With time and a kindly librarian, any unskilled person can learn how to build a replica of the Taj Mahal.”

“She said black women are so special. Few men of any color and even fewer white women can deal with how fabulous we are.”

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Book Keywords:

slavery, blacks, james-baldwin, librarians, black-women, salespeople, survival, genocide, politicians, kindness, humor, art, skills, flattery, wisdom, learning, african-americans, native-americans

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