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Tribute to Maya Angelou

Updated on May 29, 2014

RIP Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 - May 28, 2014)

Early this morning Maya Angelou was found dead by her care giver. She had recently been in poor health, cancelling public appearances. She leaves behind a legacy from her 86 years on this Earth. She grew up in troubled times from meager beginnings and was lucky enough to live to see so much progress accomplished. Although many mourn her passing, she would have wanted people to instead celebrate her life. This blog and these poems aim to serve that end. In honor of such an amazing woman let us celebrate her life and accomplishments rather than mourn her loss.

Maya Angelou

A Tribute to Maya Angelou

Activist, Teacher, Author, Singer, Actress: Maya Angelou was truly a renaissance woman who lived a very full life and deserves to be remembered for all that she accomplished.

Below are two short poems that I wrote, that were inspired by quotes from Maya Angelou.

The first was inspired by her poem "Still I Rise" and the quote "You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise."

The second piece was inspired by the quote "All great achievements require time."

"But still like dust I'll rise"

Rise Up

Inspiration’s voice

Fueled by malcontent

Shielded by optimism

Unaffected by dissent

Swirling in the dust cloud

Despite the downward pull

Rising to occasion

At its most useful

Defeat is not an option

Continue to fight on

Stand up to injustice

Until its power’s gone

"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

"All great achievements require time."

In Time

Water’s beat on rocky drums

Slowly erodes away

Winding paths are carved

A grand canyon today

Plates like planets crash

Pushing toward the sky

Reaching to the heavens

The Rocky Mountain high

Emerging from the sea

It fights to breathe the air

Eventually adapting

Evolution’s game unfair

In order to reach greatness

Sacrifice must be made

Slowly making progress

Till the end of the crusade

Another piece

A tribute isn't complete without a written piece directly describing that person. Below is another short piece written entirely in tribute to Maya Angelou. I may add to it as I become inspired by this was what came to me immediately after hearing the news of her death.


Vigilant Positivity

In everything she wrote

Wisdom everlasting

Everytime we share a quote.

Tenacious and unyielding

She fought for civil rights

A lifetime of achievement

Success brought to new heights

A voice that spoke 6 languages

But now no longer speaks

But her many written masterpieces

Gave her a lasting voice unique.

A little about her

As you may have heard she died today May 28th, 2014 at the age of 86. Many mourn her passing but her voice is far from extinguished. She leaves behind a body of work that will endure till the end of time.

Maya Angelou is known for many things, but she is most often quoted from her writings. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry. She is also credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years.

She has been awarded numerous times throughout her life including 30 honorary doctoral degrees, but most recently she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the president which is the highest civilian honor.

Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes those individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". Like the Congressional Medal of Honor this is one of the highest awards a civilian can achieve. Maya Angelou was awarded with this honor in 2011 by president Barack Obama.

Her Autobiographies

Chronology of autobiographies

  • I know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Published 1969): Covers up to 1944 (age 17)
  • Gather Together in My Name (Published 1974) Covers 1944–1948
  • Singin' and Swingin and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (Published 1976): 1949–1955
  • The Heart of a Woman (Published 1981): Covers 1957–1962
  • All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (Published 1986): Covers 1962–1965
  • A Song Flung Up to Heaven (Published 2002): Covers 1965–1968
  • Mom & Me & Mom (Published 2013): overview


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