Maya Angelou's words spanned worlds: From the inner city to the presidential stage, from her painful childhood to a soaring career as a poet, professor and performer.
Following news of her death Wednesday at the age of 86, tributes poured in from celebrities, politicians and others who remembered her life and legacy.
Here are some excerpts from Angelou's best-known works:
"Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise." -- from 1978's "Still I Rise."
"Late one day, as we were attending to the pigs, I heard a horse in the front yard (it really should have been called a driveway, except that there was nothing to drive into it), and ran to find out who had come riding up on a Thursday evening...
The used-to-be sheriff sat rakishly astraddle his horse. His nonchalance was meant to convey his authority and power over even dumb animals. How much more capable he would be with Negroes. It went without saying.
His twang jogged in the brittle air. From the side of the store, Bailey and I heard him say to Momma, 'Annie, tell Willie he better lay low tonight. A crazy nigger messed with a white lady today. Some of the boys'll be coming over here later.' Even after the slow drag of years, I remember the sense of fear which filled my mouth with hot, dry air and made my body light." -- from 1969's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
"You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out to us today, you may stand upon me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song. It says,
Come, rest here by my side." -- from "On the Pulse of Morning," which Angelou read at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993.
"Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
That's me." -- from "Phenomenal Woman," first published in 1978 and later featured in the 1993 film "Poetic Justice."
Angelou also shared messages of hope, love and wisdom on her Twitter page. A few of them are included below:
Events may come that will change things, but you must decide you will not be reduced by them.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) June 13, 2010
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) March 10, 2014
I have a certain way of being in this world, and I shall not, I shall not be moved.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) April 29, 2014
My grandmother used to say, "get some starch in your backbone." We could all stand a little straighter.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) June 25, 2010
I'm blessed to be excited everyday, because this is a day I've never seen before.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) June 25, 2010
I long for the time when all human history is taught as one history. I am stronger because you are stronger. I am weaker if you are weak.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) February 6, 2011
I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) March 3, 2013
The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) May 19, 2013
Dignity really means that I deserve the best treatment I can receive, that I have the responsibility to give the best treatment to others.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) September 24, 2013
Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I'm with you kid. Let's go."— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) May 8, 2013
Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) May 23, 2014