Maya Angelou, 1999.
I could not agree more.
...upon those two words, judge not, but read her works.
Civil Rights Activist.
“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
In 1993, Angelou recited her poem 'On the Pulse of Morning' at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961. The recording of the poem was awarded a Grammy Award.
She has also received nominations for the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award.
She served on two presidential committees. Awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and in 2011 President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
She has also received over thirty honorary degrees from colleges and universities from all over the World.
Her son, Guy Johnson, says he is often asked what it's like to be raised by the woman hailed as one of the most influential voices of our time. Did Johnson, a writer and author himself, ever feel he was growing up in her shadow?
"No, I didn't. I grew up in her light." he says.
"Sometimes I wasn't worthy of it, but it has always been an experience that expanded me. She thinks that the divine hand is in all things. She has faith that's like a rock -- you can stand on it. She speaks to our humanity and she reminds us that we are both brother and sister to the rest of the human race."
What a powerful, moving, inspiring and true statement.
You can see the short clip here: