A picture of Maya Angelou holds a wealth of significance. To begin, her impact as an outspoken and brave civil rights activist is undeniable. It is this advocacy for societal change that Angelou is largely known for. As a poet and poet laureate, Angelou authored an ample collection of literature, leaving a permanent impression on the literary world and its readers. The 1998 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient for her unparalleled contributions to society, Angelou’s career as an author, actress, dancer, singer and educator continues to inspire. The renowned poet specified the ceremony for her stamp of approval, A Picture of Maya Angelou, the 32nd of the Poet Laureate Series stamps to commemorate her courage and achievements.
Angelou had a remarkable life in terms of her worked, accomplishments and civic involvement. She had become one of the most visible African American authors in the world, whose works had received praise and a Guggenheim Fellowship, attended Pulitzer Prize events, had a lifetime appointment as the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, among many other feats. As a young adult, Angelou had maintained a successful singing and dancing career, producing a theater piece “Cabaret for Freedom” in The Village. Furthermore, a key aspect of Angelou’s life was her activism, which dated back to the civil rights movement.
Angelou’s legacy includes several Tony Award-nominated performances, and the recipient of over 50 honorary degrees from institutions. An evident part of Angelou’s impact includes her contributions to literature. Angelou was voted amongst the 50 greatest poets of the 20th century and was involved in countless published works. Worthy of notice, Angelou had a lasting impact on notable political figures and prominent civil rights leader, including that of Hillary Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Coretta Scott, who “have all sought her advice on life’s most trying moments,” according to the National Women’s History Museum.
To honor her achievements, the United States Postal Service created a stamp with her image, among many other honors and awards. In 1994, Bill Clinton, who requested Maya to write and read a poem of her own in his presidential inauguration ceremony, declared in the proclamation that “The life of Dr. Maya Angelou personifies the highest ideals of the human spirit and challenges us all to reach the highest human potential.” Historically, the stamp “Maya Angelou,” the 32nd of the Poet Laureates, had made history as the first stamp in the U.S. Postal Service’s longtime history to feature a living African American woman.
Inspiring a New Generation
Angelou had furthered her influence by forming close personal and professional relationships with dozens of African American leaders, including Toni Morrison and Grace Nichols. The renowned poet had been invited to more than 50 colleges and universities to give speeches, motivating scholars, and young adults in power of the arts and encouraging young minds to follow their passion. Angelou’s work has fueled literary developments, particularly in modern African-American literature. Angelou dedicated her life to empowering future generations, an impressive and admirable act that will continue to inspire for many years.
Angelou’s work as a poet continues to prove her impact to present times, her best-known collections include “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, “Gather Together in My Name” and “The Heart of a Woman.” Additionally, Angelou had published books of essays, plays and screenplays, commencement speeches and cookbooks, among other works. For instance, her second volume of poetry, “And Still I Rise” is one of the bestselling volumes of poetry ever released in the U.S.A. and one of her most famous poems, “On the Pulse of Morning” was recited in the 1993 presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton. Doubtless, this poem remains an enduring part of popular culture.
Triumph Over Adversity
Before becoming an influential figure and performing for thousands of people, Angelou faced plenty of hardship in her early life. An avid reader from an early age, Angelou had faced tremendous adversity during her lifetime – Angelou was born during a time of racial fear and segregation, faced stigma as an unmarried mother, and suffered a lifetime of sexual abuse. Through her tribulations and experiences, Angelou successfully penned rhythmic, sublime words that have left the world forever changed – these works of literature will remain a cornerstone of the African cultural landscape.
Providing efforts towards the advancement of African-American literature and art, Angelou had encouraged and made inseparable contributions to other popular artists, including Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams, among many others, who have gone on to achieve greatness in their respective fields. Angelou had also taken on a pioneering role. In 1969, she had become the first black female director to have her feature-length film, Down in the Delta, screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Angelou’s legacy as a leader and an inspirational speaker will serve to amaze. For example, she taped a series of interviews with stars and accomplished people such as Helen Hayes, Alfre Woodard, Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier on the The Oprah Winfrey show. In addition to being active in the film and television industry, Angelou had a longstanding commitment to the performing arts. The notable poet’s expansive repertoire included theatre, film, television and spoken word.
Angelou had created a plethora of inspiring films, albums, and plays as well. Her works had sprouted from poetry, storytelling and dance, tackling serious topics with a unique artistic direction. Her latest project was the musical revue “Comin’ Uptown”, which revamped classics such as “A Christmas Carol” in an urbanized, soulful manner. Moreover, her TV films “Roots: the Next Generation”, “Sister, Sister”, and “My Zora Ismael” had all earned multiple awards.