Though she left this earth physically in 2014, Maya Angelou’s work and legacy continue on in the lives she touched and her writings. Ninety years ago today, she was born in St. Louis.
On February 23, 1998, Maya Angelou appeared with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in a concert at Robinson Center. The evening featured Dr. Angelou narrating Joseph Schwantner’s tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “New Morning for the World.”
Dr. Angelou, a former resident of Stamps, Arkansas, was not a stranger to Little Rock. She had appeared before at Wildwood Park and would later appear at the Clinton Presidential Center.
A former Poet Laureate of the United States and Tony nominated actor, she won a Grammy Award for her reading of “On the Pulse of the Morning” which had been written for the first inauguration of Bill Clinton as President of the United States.
A poet, author, educator, dancer, singer, actor, and activist, she wrote seven autobiographies. The most notable was arguably I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Born in St. Louis, she spent part of her childhood in Arkansas before moving to California. She led a peripatetic life both geographically and career-wise ending as a professor at Wake Forest and residing in North Carolina. It was there that she died in May 2014.
One of the ways her work continues is through the Celebrate Maya project which is led by Janis Kearney.