Maya Angelou, one of our nation's best writers and thinkers, died this morning at the age of 86. Maybe you read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in college. Maybe you heard Oprah talk about her all these years. Or maybe you caught a glimpse of her on Sesame Street or some interview. No matter how you first encountered her, you probably felt honored to hear her words and glad that she was in this world.
Angelou famously wrote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” We might forget the poems of hers we memorized, or that she was San Francisco's first African American female street car conductor, or the exact words she spoke to Tupac on the set of Poetic Justice, but we'll always remember how she made us feel understood, instructed, mothered, and free.
Here are some shining moments of Maya in action:
Her inauguration poem for Bill Clinton named so many types of people, as if to say I see you, you are valid.