Maya Angelou Dedicates a Stirring Tribute for Nelson Mandela on Behalf of the American People
Dr. Maya Angelou, a prize-winning American literary figure with significant African ties, has written a poem on behalf of the American people to the South African nation. The poem carries a genuine expression of the sorrow and gratitude of the American people at the passing of this historic figure and homage for his contribution to human rights and freedom.
Dr. Angelou, who met former President Mandela while living in Cairo, was born in 1928 and is best known for her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Former President Mandela read Dr. Angelou's books while imprisoned at Robben Island and also recited her poem "Still I Rise" at his presidential inauguration in 1994.
The poem is available in text, as well as video format and has been translated in to 15 languages, including Setswana, Xhosa, and Xulu. Dr. Angelou has granted the U.S. Department of State non-exclusive global rights to use the poem in full or excerpted form, in perpetuity, within the broad range of media, for all public diplomacy purposes and activities.