Organizations in the Washington, DC vicinity are honoring Dr. Maya Angelou this week. On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, Dr. Angelou passed away in the solitude of her home. She was, surprisingly, found unconscious by her caretaker.
Dr. Angelou is best remembered as an author, educator, a political activist, poet, business entrepreneur and dynamic public speaker. Dr. Angelou broke many barriers in the 1960s as she worked alongside of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X fighting for the equality of mankind. She helped to improve conditions in schools, public facilities, transportation, etc.
Dr. Angelou presented one of her most famed poems, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton. She was the first poet to present at a presidential inauguration since Robert Frost in 1961. She was also the first African American woman to speak at it.
Another prominent masterpiece, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” brought Dr. Angelou many accolades. She disclosed her experiences with rape, racism, injustices, and independence. From this literary work, a movie was created and remains a classic among many, today.
Because of Dr. Angelou’s remarkable contributions to society, many folks are paying homage to her during this time. Transportation leaders, for instance, acknowledge Dr. Angelou as the first African American street car conductor in San Francisco. She wrote about this experience in her recent publication entitled, “Mom & Me & Mom.”
Local radio stations like Praise104.1, Yolanda Adams’ Morning Show, remember Dr. Angelou’s spirited voice. As listeners tuned-in, they heard an audio of Dr. Angelou’s most memorable poems, such as “Still I Rise.”
Many people reflected on Dr. Angelou’s early her career as an actor, a singer and dancer while watching BET Networks’ televised tribute. She was a great dancer. Working closely with Alvin Ailey in the 1950s, Dr. Angelou played a significant role in the development of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.
Just yesterday, The National Portrait Gallery placed a painting, taken of Dr. Angelou at a ceremony in April, on display. The portrait can be viewed in the gallery until June 12.
Though her body is gone, Dr. Angelou’s spirit carries on in the hearts of many people across the nation. Her final words of wisdom that was tweeted on May 23 read, “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.” Dr. Angelou was, indeed, a phenomenal woman with an unforgettable legacy.