Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was an African-American poet and author most famous for her landmark 1969 book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of seven autobiographical accounts of her incredible life.

Angelou was and still is revered for her sage wisdom and keen insights into race, class, and self-determination. The quote below reflects her belief that thoughtful action and kindness are the legacies we leave behind. How do you want to be remembered?

maya angelou quote

“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 fortunate to have author and talk show host Tavis Smiley among our many Big Think Experts. Smiley recently published a book titled My Journey with Maya, a recollection of his 30-year friendship with the iconic American poet. Below, Smiley discusses some of Angelou's most helpful pieces of advice: