The undefeated

Maya Angelou

Well, I think that we see how we can fall and rise. You see, we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat, so that we can know who we are. So that we can see, oh, that happened, and I rose. I did get knocked down flat in front of the whole world, and I rose. I didn't run away - I rose right where I'd been knocked down. And then that's how you get to know yourself. You say, hmm, I can get up! I have enough of life in me to make somebody jealous enough to want to knock me down. I have so much courage in me that I have the effrontery, the incredible gall to stand up. That's it. That's how you get to know who you are.

-- Maya Angelou, 2009 interview.

Maya Angelou overcame...a difficult childhood, including rape, and then a rough start in life as a single mother. She embraced radical people -- Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela -- and adopted radical causes. But she had the incredible gall to stand up, and as a result she became a best-selling author, our de facto poet laureate, and a winner of the Medal of Freedom. Last week, she told us -- via Twitter! -- to "[l]isten to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God. " And then she left us...undefeated.