I hadn’t thought about Maya Angelou for years.
This week she made the news, not for being her own intriguing self, but because Senator Obama’s controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was given a standing ovation when he turned up as a surprise guest at her birthday party at Chicago’s Saint Sabina Roman Catholic Church. |video|
The first time I ever heard of Maya Angelou was in a philosophy class some fifteen years ago. The instructor asked the class what they were reading and who inspired them. Several of the black women said Maya Angelou, and recommended I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Then, Angelou attracted national attention on January 20, 1993 when she read her poem On the Pulse of Morning |video| |text| for the Clinton inauguration. It contains some now familiar themes: hope , change and yes, courage:
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Although the Rev. Wright is said to be a personal friend, Angelou is known to be a Hillary Clinton supporter. The new poem for Hillary:
State Package for Hillary Clinton
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.
Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.
There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.
She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.
She means to rise.
Don’t give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.
According to Maya Angelou’s official website, she was born April 4 , 1928, which makes this her 80th birthday. May the years be gentle with her.