Her day is done.
The news came on the wings of a wind, reluctant to carry its burden.
Maya Angelou’s day is done.
The news, expected and still unwelcome, reached us all over the world, and suddenly our world became somber.
Our skies were leadened.
Celebrated poet, novelist, actress, educator, historian, filmmaker and civil rights activist- Maya Angelou’s life spanned more than eight decades until her passing “On the Pulse of the Morning” of May 28th 2014. Like Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou was a defender of black culture and liberation, and an activist for women’s rights through her many works.
In the heights of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Angelou helped Malcolm X build the civil rights organization- Organization for Afro-American Unity. The assassination of Malcolm X and later another good friend, Martin Luther King Jr, though throwing her into sadness, encouraged her to produce some of her best works; ‘Blacks, Blues, Black,’ a documentary series and a year later, her first autobiography, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.’
She became only the second poet to do a recital at the inauguration of a US President, reciting, “On the Pulse of the Morning” at the 1993 Clinton inauguration. In 2011, she was honoured by yet another president, Barack Obama, with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her numerous works were permeated with messages of love, compassion, equality and selflessness.
We regret the passing of such a “Phenomenal Woman” who reminds us through her works that “Love liberates” and in all that we do, we should “Just do right.”
Though gone, her works live on and serve as potent reminders to us as we go about our daily lives.
Yes, Maya Angelou’s day is done, yet we, her inheritors, will open the gates wider for reconciliation, and we will respond generously to the cries of Blacks and Whites, Asians, Hispanics, the poor who live piteously on the floor of our planet.
She has offered us understanding.
We will not withhold forgiveness even from those who do not ask.
Maya Angelou’s day is done, we confess it in tearful voices, yet we lift our own to say thank you.
We will not forget you, we will not dishonour you, we will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us all.
Rest in Peace Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
Aujaé K. Dixon
The tribute contains in parts a modified version of Angelou’s own tribute to Nelson Mandela