Thursday, May 29, 2014

RIP Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, poet, memoirist, civil rights advocate, women's rights advocate, singer, dancer, film director, and educator, died yesterday at the age of 86. She was a great woman, and had a great presence and influence. The papers and the Internet are full of details, quotes, etc., so I will simply say that I, like countless others, greatly admired her, and will here share some times and ways in which she and her work entered my life more specifically. First, some years ago, Dr. Angelou read her work at the University of San Francisco (USF), where I teach. I was awed by her work, her voice, and her presence, as were the students and other faculty in attendance. I don't think anyone who has ever seen or heard her will ever forget that experience. Second, last fall a six-evening reading/discussion group of faculty women, especially but not only faculty women of color, took place at USF; I was a member. The group was called "And Still We Rise," after Angelou's great poem "And Still I Rise." Her spirit inspired and infused the group. I have also taught that poem, and others by her. Another connection is that Angelou lived here in San Francisco on and off for many years of her life. RIP Dr. Maya Angelou.

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