February 15

February 15, 2011 – Maya Angelou – Presidential Medal of Freedom 

American poet, author, actress, filmmaker, educator and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on February 15, 2011.

Angelou Obama

President Barack Obama presenting Maya Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Her career in the arts lasted over 50 years, but was further noted internationally when she delivered her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” during the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Angelou at Clinton inauguration (cropped)

Maya Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration in 1993.

During her career, Angelou was involved in many movies, television shows and plays.  She published numerous books of poetry, three books of essays and seven autobiographies.   Angelou’s autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” has received international acclaim since it’s publishing in 1969. Even with her long life, it is difficult to comprehend the list of her accomplishments and awards that she achieved over her lifetime.  Angelou was the recipient of over 50 honorary doctorate degrees, three Grammy awards, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, two NAACP Image Awards, a Tony Award nomination, an Emmy Award nomination, and numerous other awards and honors. She served the last years of her career beginning in 1982 as a lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina.   Angelou was a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Winston Salem for over 30 years. She had one son, Guy Johnson. Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and died on May 28, 2014 in Winston Salem, North Carolina at age 86.

 

Tribute To Black History Month

December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950 – Carter Godwin Woodson

Carter G Woodson portrait

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson  began “Negro History Week” the forerunner to Black History Month. Dr. Woodson was a noted, historian, journalist, author and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.