The Most Important Lesson Maya Angelou Learned From Her Grandmother (VIDEO)

05/30/2014 09:35 pm ET | Updated May 30, 2014
  • OWN

"When you learn, teach. When you get, give," is one of the best lessons Oprah says she learned from Dr. Maya Angelou.

During a during a profound "Oprah's Master Class" interview in January 2011, Dr. Angelou explained this lesson originally came from her grandmother, a woman who heavily influenced her life.

"She told me, 'Sister, when you get, give. When you learn, teach. These are lessons to live by,'" Dr. Angelou said.

Dr. Angelou was sent to live with her paternal grandmother at age 7, after she was sexually abused while living with her mother's family. She stopped speaking for six years because of the abuse, a time she later chronicled in her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She was called an "idiot" and a "moron," but her beloved grandmother always told her otherwise.

"'Mama know when you and the good Lord get ready, you're going to be a teacher,'" Dr. Angelou's grandmother told her. "'Sister, you're going to teach all over this world.'"

She was right. Dr. Angelou traveled the globe, speaking in venues across the United States and as far as Israel, Egypt, England and Rome. "And each time I have another honor, I think of my grandma," Dr. Angelou said.

"So, I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now," Dr. Angelou shared. "And to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn't just hold -- that's ego. Love liberates."

Dr. Maya Angelou's appearance on "Oprah's Master Class" re-airs this Sunday, June 1, at 9 p.m. ET on OWN, following a day of encore presentations honoring the late writer, poet, teacher and activist.

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