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Published in 1937 (and out of print for decades before being reissued in the 1970s), it’s the story of Janie, a Black woman who maintains her fierce independence throughout three marriages. A key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston wrote many novels, stories, essays and poems, including two long-posthumous books. “Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’” and “Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick,” published earlier this year.

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Angelou tenders tutorials in perspective and wisdom in short essays and poems to her “thousands of daughters.” But you need not be female to be changed by the lessons the American poet, memoirist, civil rights activist and performer learned and under what conditions she learned them. I found solace in grieving my sister from Angelou’s letters (published in 2008, six years before Angelou’s death), especially her chapters “Mrs. Coretta Scott King” and “Condolences.” Now I return most frequently to her introduction, which contains some of her most famous quotes:

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