Inspiring Quotes for my sisters

« Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. »
—Louisa May Alcott

« Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences. »
—Susan B. Anthony

« The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race. »
—Susan B. Anthony

« We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever. »
—Susan B. Anthony, Declaration of Rights for Women, July 1876

« There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers. »
—Susan B. Anthony

« In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on a woman. »
—Nancy Astor
(British Politician)

« For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women. »
—Elizabeth Blackwell

(The first woman in the U.S. to become a physician)

« We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road—the one « less traveled by »—offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth. »
— Rachel Carson

« The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come. »
—Sandra Day O’Connor

« We’ve chosen the path to equality, don’t let them turn us around. »
—Geraldine Ferraro
(The first woman to be nominated as Vice President of the United States)

« You can do one of two things; just shut up, which is something I don’t find easy, or learn an awful lot very fast, which is what I tried to do. »
—Jane Fonda

  « If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. »
— Margaret Fuller

  « My address is like my shoes. It travels with me. I abide where there is a fight against wrong. »
—Mother Jones

« Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got. »
—Janis Joplin

« Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. »
—Helen Keller

« If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse gift will find a fitting place. »
—Margaret Mead

« Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. » —Margaret Mead

« I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome. »
—Golda Meir

« Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade. »
Constance Baker Motley
(First Black Woman in the U.S. to become a Federal Judge)

« I think the key is for women not to set any limits. »
— Martina Navratilova

« People think at the end of the day that a man is the only answer [to fulfillment]. Actually a job is better for me. »
—Princess Diana

« Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. »
—Eleanor Roosevelt

« I think it’s very important for everyone in America to realize right now the state of our country, not just on this issue but on a lot of issues, that it is time to get active again. People have just sat back and just sort of said, oh, let somebody else do it for a long time, and we’re seeing what’s happening to the country, even freedom of speech. It’s not going well. So I think this is a real opportunity for people to see, yes, if you do get out and you do get active, there are other people there. You just have to seek them out. »
—Mary Steenburgen

« In my heart, I think a woman has two choices: either she’s a feminist or a masochist. »
—Gloria Steinem

« The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. »
—Gloria Steinem

« I am also very proud to be a liberal. Why is that so terrible these days? The liberals were liberators—they fought slavery, fought for women to have the right to vote, fought against Hitler, Stalin, fought to end segregation, fought to end apartheid. Liberals put an end to child labor and they gave us the five day work week! What’s to be ashamed of? »
—Barbra Streisand

« We still live in a world in which a significant fraction of people, including women, believe that a woman belongs and wants to belong exclusively in the home. »
—Rosalyn Sussman
(Nobel Prize-winning medical physicist)

« You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled. »
—Dhyani Ywahoo
(Native American)

« It’s so clear that you have to cherish everyone. I think that’s what I get from these older black women, that every soul is to be cherished, that every flower is to bloom. »
—Alice Walker

« I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. »
—Martha Washington

« As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world. »
—Virginia Woolf

PHENOMENAL WOMAN by Maya Angelou

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.
I say,
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
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing of my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. 

from And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.

 

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

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 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.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

© Maya Angelou, 1978.

Still I Rise »
from AND STILL I RISE by Maya Angelou,
copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.
Used by permission of Random House, Inc.