Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970) was a top pick by Rebellious Lawyering “Race” Conference 2014 survey participants.
From I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:
“The sounds of the new morning had been replaced with grumbles about cheating houses, weighted scales, snakes, skimpy cotton and dusty rows. In later years I was to confront the stereotyped picture of gay song-singing cotton pickers with such inordinate rage that I was told even by fellow Blacks that my paranoia was embarrassing. But I had seen the fingers cut by the mean little cotton bolls, and I had witnessed the backs and shoulders and arms and legs resisting any further demands.”
“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.”
“The miserable little encounter had nothing to do with me, the me of me, any more than it had to do with that silly clerk. The incident was a recurring dream, concocted years before by stupid whites and it eternally came back to haunt us all. The secretary and I were like Hamlet and Laertes in the final scene, where, because of harm done by one ancestor to another, we were bound to duel to the death. Also because the play must end somewhere.”
“Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
“See, you don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking.”