April 4, 2015

Celebrating the Measure of Maya (Happy Birthday, Dr. Angelou).

Maya Angelou in white

Today (April 4th) we celebrate the birth of one of the earth’s deepest wells of wisdom: Dr Maya Angelou.

Name a minority, and Maya Angelou was probably in it.

African American. Female. Outspoken. Hell raising, rule breaking earth-shaker. Full of questions that, when answered, were generously share with courage and grace.

She dared to speak publicly about her private life in a time when racism and discrimination were rampant and dangerous.

Maya was born between world wars, when slavery was still very real.

Truthfully, Maya Angelou made the world quiver with every breath she took. And It quivers still, as if her passing has only increased her power.

Her list of accomplishments are miles long:

  • Author of 36 books
  • Historian
  • Actor & Producer
  • Civil Rights Activist
  • Achiever of 50+ doctorates
  • Pulitzer Prize nominee
  • Fluent in 5 languages
  • Recipient of the Presidential Medal of the Arts, National Medal of the Arts, and the highest U.S. honour—the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

And on it goes.

But the true impact of Maya Angelou’s earthly contributions can only be measured by how she made each of us feel. And this is why I love her.

I love her for simplicity:

“I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”

I love her for truth:

“A caged bird stands on the grave of dreams.”

I love her for alignment:

“There are some millionaires / with money they can’t use.”

I love her for cradling me in her wise-woman arms:

“She came home running / back to the mothering blackness… / white tears icicle gold plains of her face… / she came home blameless.”

maya angelou poem


I love her for reminding me of this…

“All great achievements require time.”

I love her for having the last word at her own funeral.

And I love her for the world’s most thoughtful apology letter.

When I stop to thank all the women who have broken ground before me, I am thanking Maya Angelou.
When I honour the world’s immense diversity, I am honouring Maya Angelou.

And when I stand powerfully in my own truth and beauty, I feel Maya’s soft, proud gaze upon me.

Happy Birthday Phenomenal Woman, and thank you.

Maya Angelou 4/4/1928 – 05/28/2014


I rise Maya Angelou graffiti mural




Maya Angelou, on Love.



Author: Crystal Davis

Editor: Renée Picard

Photos: Flickr Creative Commons 


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