First Lady Michelle Obama, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, Attorney General Eric Holder, singer Valerie Simpson, singer Roberta Flack, Donna Brazile and emcee Melissa Harris-Perry crowded into the Warner Theatre in downtown Washington, D.C., for the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp dedication ceremony.
“They say Easter was Sunday, but we’re still having church here,” Harris-Perry said after Alyson Williams led the crowd in singing, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Oprah Winfrey, Ambassador Andrew Young, poet Sonia Sanchez, author Sophia A. Nelson, poet Nikki Giovanni and professor Eleanor Traylor delivered impassioned tributes to Angelou — the author, the poet, the activist and friend.
“Her words carry the spirit of creation,” Sanchez said.
Winfrey said that Angelou had lived a “big, bold and bodacious life.”
“She challenged us to be resilient,” Nelson said.
Born in St. Louis, she spent much of her early childhood in Stamps living with her grandmother. Her first book recounted much of that time in her life. Last June, the city council in Stamps voted to dedicate Lake June and the surrounding park in her honor. The pond was mentioned often in her book.
Angelou was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for a collection of poems, “Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ’fore I Diiie,” and was nominated for an Emmy in 1977 for her portrayal of Kunta Kinte’s grandmother in Alex Haley’s television miniseries, “Roots.” She won a Grammy in 2002 for Best Spoken Word Album for “A Song Flung Up to Heaven,” according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
In 1993, she read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
Source: USPS and Gate House News