Dr. Maya Angelou was, among many things, an acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist, and autobiographer.
Born in 1928, she had a broad career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, master educator, and Hollywood’s first female black director, but became most famous as a writer, editor, essayist, playwright, and poet.
As a civil rights activist, Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Angelou was awarded over 50 honorary degrees before her death in 2014
In a 2016 interview with The Washington Post, Oprah Winfrey said,
"I am as grounded in my history and my ancestry as anybody I know. I walk with them. I live with them. I embody the line from Maya Angelou’s poem “Our Grandmothers,” where she says, “I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.”...
"When I have challenging circumstances, I have gone into my office closet and said, “Okay, y’all, here we go.” Called them up. I walk with that and I move with that. My ancestry is embodied in my moving forward. ... The price that was paid, the challenges and day-to-day humiliations that had to be repressed that allowed for little Oprah to exist, I owe them. ... I find nothing but power and strength in the memory."
Maya Angelou's poem "Our Grandmothers" reminds us that our stories are not just our own, but a continuation of a legacy. We come as one, but there are 10,000 ancestors standing with us. The lives we live, the work we do is not done in isolation. We are connected to a web of consciousness, both seen and unseen.
How can you question your value knowing how loved you truly are?
Give thanks for the storytellers who remind us of our origins and our potential.
Give thanks for the wisdom keepers that keep us rooted in knowledge of who we are.
Give thanks for the ancestors who, even if unseen, stand with us.
May we honor their legacy and make them proud.
Read the poem here:
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