Tag: “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”

Maya Angelou Honored with Forever Stamp

(File: Image)On Monday, Feb. 23, the United States Postal Service announced that writer, actress and poet Maya Angelou will be honored with a Forever Stamp.

Though Angelou died last year at the age of 86, she remains an icon and inspiration because of her life of advocacy and her countless contributions to society. Her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is one of her most acclaimed works. It tells the story of her life in the Jim Crow South.

The Postal Service plans to preview the stamp and provide details on the date and location of the first day of issue ceremony at a later time. Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan stated, “Maya Angelou inspired our nation through a life of advocacy and through her many contributions to the written and spoken word. Her wide-ranging achievements as a playwright, poet, memoirist, educator, and advocate for justice and equality enhanced our culture.”

Check out her top 10 works here.

article by Christie Leondis via blackenterprise.com

R.I.P. Acclaimed Author and Activist, Dr. Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou, acclaimed author, poet, professor and civil rights activist, has died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was 86.  Angelou was found by her caretaker this morning, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed.

Angelou was set to be honored with the “Beacon of Life Award” at the 2014 Major League Baseball Beacon Award Luncheon on May 30 in Houston, but recently cancelled due to  health problems.  She is survived by her son, author Gus Johnson.

Angelou had a prolific career, published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, night-club dancer and performer, castmember of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization. She has also been an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs.

Since 1982, she has taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Since the 1990s she made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.

In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.  To learn more about her life and career, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson@lakinhutcherson

Maya Angelou Accepts Mailer Center Lifetime Achievement Award

Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Maya Angelou poses for photographs during the fifth annual Norman Mailer Center benefit gala at the New York Public Library on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Maya Angelou poses for photographs during the fifth annual Norman Mailer Center benefit gala at the New York Public Library on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Her body weak, her voice rich and strong, Maya Angelou sang, lectured and reminisced as she accepted a lifetime achievement award Thursday night from the Norman Mailer Center.  The 85-year-old author, poet, dancer and actress was honored during a benefit gala at the New York Public Library, the annual gathering organized by the Mailer Center and writers colony . Seated in a wheelchair, she was a vivid presence in dark glasses and a sparkling black dress as she marveled that a girl from a segregated Arkansas village could grow up to become a literary star.

“Imagine it,” she said, “a town so prejudiced black people couldn’t even eat vanilla ice cream.” Angelou was introduced by her former editor at Random House, Robert Loomis, and she praised him for talking her into writing her breakthrough memoir, the million-selling I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The key was suggesting to her that the book might be too hard to write.

The people who knew her best, she explained, understood that “if you want to get Maya Angelou to do so something, tell her she can’t.”  Angelou, a longtime resident of North Carolina, will be back in Manhattan next month to collect an honorary National Book Award medal.

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Maya Angelou to Receive Honorary Book Award

Dr. Maya Angelou poses at the the Special Recognition Event for Dr. Maya Angelou � The Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait at Dr. Angelou's home June 21, 2010 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Ken Charnock/Getty Images)
Dr. Maya Angelou poses at the the Special Recognition Event for Dr. Maya Angelou The Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait at Dr. Angelou’s home June 21, 2010 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Ken Charnock/Getty Images)

The book world is finally honoring Maya Angelou.

The poet and author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will be this year’s recipient of the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award for contributions to the literary community, the National Book Foundation announced today. It is the first major literary prize for the 85-year-old Angelou, who has been celebrated everywhere from the Grammy Awards to the White House. She has received three Grammys for best spoken word album, a National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

Speaking by telephone with The Associated Press, Angelou said she couldn’t wait to be in the same room as “some very big names in the literary world” and that the Literarian prize made her feel that she was “picking in high cotton.”

“Dr. Angelou’s body of work transcends the words on the page,” the book foundation’s executive director, Harold Augenbraum, said in a statement. “She has been on the front lines of history and the fight for social justice and decade after decade remains a symbol of the redemptive power of literature in the contemporary world.”

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Maya Angelou Honors Mom, Grandmother in New Book

Dr. Maya Angelou poses at the the Special Recognition Event for Dr. Maya Angelou � The Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait at Dr. Angelou's home June 21, 2010 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Ken Charnock/Getty Images)

Dr. Maya Angelou (Photo by Ken Charnock/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Writer, actor, dancer. Activist, teacher, composer. In the melange of Maya Angelou’s 85 years is also daughter, of two women who deserved one with a good memory.  So Angelou writes in her latest literary memoir, “Mom & Me & Mom,” a sweet ode to “Lady,” her mother Vivian Baxter, and “Momma,” her paternal grandmother Annie Henderson, who took her in at age 3 in tiny, segregated Stamps, Ark., and returned her at age 13, when the time was right.

Baxter, rough-and-tumble poor from St. Louis, and Henderson, refined believer in southern etiquette, are both long gone but figure big in Angelou’s legendary life.  The fierce and fun Vivian was Angelou’s abandoner and, later, her most loyal protector. She and Annie are familiar to admirers of the poet and spinner of autobiographical fiction. It’s Angelou’s eighth book to unravel her often painful and tumultuous life, including the 1969 National Book Award winner “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” chronicling her rape as a girl that left her mute for five years.

Angelou lost her beloved older brother Bailey in 2000, after his slide into drugs, and her mother in 1991, at age 79 or 85, depending on who’s doing the counting, joked Angelou in a recent telephone interview from her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she has lived part-time for more than 30 years while on the faculty of Wake Forest University.  Her son, Guy, whom she had at age 17, remains with us, enduring years on crutches after numerous surgeries for spinal injuries he suffered in an auto accident.

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