Maya Angelou: Leaving a Legacy

We lost an author, poet, activist, teacher and mother yesterday when Maya Angelou passed away. As women, we look to Maya Angelou as a role model of the strength a woman is capable of and the change she can make in the world.

Despite difficulties in her three marriages, Angelou raised her son, Guy, and followed her dream of writing in order to teach the world around her. She never settled for second best, but fought on to become one of the most influential women and leaders in the world.

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When I heard the news of Angelou’s passing, I did not know much about this amazing woman. I began to research her work, falling more in love with each bit I learned about her.

We can all learn something from this warrior of a woman; whether it is to follow your calling no one matter how difficult it may seem or to stand up for those causes you are most passionate about despite those who stand in your way.

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Though we lost a fabulous woman, her legacy lives on in her work and in the hearts of those she touched.

We wanted to share one of her poems, traditionally read during a couple’s wedding vows, about the power and importance of love above all else.

“Touched by an Angel” by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

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Photos courtesy of Howard UniversityHuffington Post and Essence