Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou was one of the most influential and imposing figure of our time.  In her own words, she taught herself and “created” herself.  She never attended college but became a world renown university professor, singer, dancer, actress, poet, novelist and mentor par excellence. She was also an activist who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and President Nelson Mandela in the struggle for civil rights, racial equality and human rights.  Because she was comfortable in her own skin, she was comfortable with others, presidents, entertainment giants and grassroots folks, regardless of status, race, class, religion, national origins or sexual orientation.  She wrote and read insightful, inspiring, challenging, yet,  affirming poems at the Inaugurations of both President William Clinton and President Barack Obama.  She was the only women given that honor and the only American so honored twice.   She was also awarded the Medal of Honor for her work and her contributions to her country.

Like her famous poem, Dr. Angelou was a Phenomenal Woman! a literary giant, a humanitarian and gifted teacher whose words helped us expand our minds and hearts, embrace our humanity and recognize the humanity of others.  She was the embodiment of feminism and a fierce defender of human equality.  With her big smile, warm, open heart and perfectly aligned words she affirmed our rights and aspirations.  First Lady Michelle Obama said that “she made us all feel like we were the one.”  

We will miss Dr. Angelou's resounding voice.  We will miss her courage and wisdom.  And, we will miss her warmth and love for “ALL.”


Shelby F. Lewis

June, 2014