Dear Savvy Searcher,
“We have hit a stumper. A colleague is looking for confirmation that Maya Angelou said the following (along with where and when):
‘We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.’
We have looked widely and been unable to confirm the attribution. Everyone on the web seems to agree that she said it but no one attributes it with a citation of any sort.
Thanks! I hope y’all can help. We are stymied.”
Google Books can help with this. What’s needed is the information that appears in a citation: the author, place, and date of publication. Luckily, traditional print materials (in the form of books) often include the kind of citation information you might need and Google Books allow you to search the full text of books.
Here’s what to do:
- Go to books.google.com
- Search for: Maya Angelou “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color”. (Generally, I advise against typing in a whole quote. As we will see shortly, I would have done better to use fewer words, as suggested in the recent post on picking good search terms.)
- Notice that many books simply print the quote and credit Angelou, but a few, such as Jay Phelan’s What Is Life?: A Guide to Biology w/Prep-U and Myron W. Lustig and Jolene Koester’s Intercultural Competence, agree on a source: Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now (New York: Random House Inc., 1993) 124.
- Within Google Books, search for Wouldn’t Take Nothing “diversity makes for a rich tapestry.”
This is where the search gets tricky. Why did the book itself not come up in the original Google Books results? From experience, I know that famous quotes and other texts tend to change as Continue reading