Maya Angelou has lived in St. Louis, New York City and Cairo, Egypt. She toured Europe and can speak fluently in Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic and the West African language of Fanti.
She worked with both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Angelou has written over 30 books, served on two presidential committees, received three Grammy Awards and more than 30 honorary titles from several institutions and the poem that she read at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration – the first inaugural poem to be read since Robert Frost’s at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration– was broadcast live around the world.
And now she is coming to speak at Appalachian State University.
“Bringing Maya Angelou back to Appalachian after 23 years represents our most ambitious attempt yet to extend and deepen awareness and understanding of the Civil Rights Movement and the legacy of Dr. King to our students and community,” said Augusto Peña, Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Development, the primary organization responsible for Angelou’s visit. “She possesses the rare ability to speak poetically and directly to people of every generation and background.”
Peña said that Angelou is loved by people of all walks of life.
“She represents hope, beauty, resilience, pride, truth and so much more,” he said. “Maya Angelou has deeply touched so many people through her writing, teaching and performance. I received an email from a couple that were planning to come up from Florida to attend the event next Tuesday.”
As the day of her visit approaches, the excitement of both students and faculty continues to brew.
“I think all students should definitely take advantage of the fact that Dr. Angelou is coming to speak,” said Muslim Student Association President Lena Aloumari. “Even if they may not be familiar with her or her work, they shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity.”
In a recent article, OurState.com listed Maya Angelou’s visit to campus as one of the top five things every North Carolinian should do in the month of January.
“I think that the recognition that Our State provided adds even more validation for people to come out to this event,” Aloumari said. “She is a world-renowned talent and it’s unlikely that someone, especially ASU students, will have this opportunity again. This definitely should spark some more interest and encourage more people to attend because I feel like people will definitely miss out on this amazing experience.”
Maya Angelou will speak at the Holmes Convocation Center at Appalachian State University on Tuesday, January 22. It will be free to all who attend.
“I am so excited to see her,” said Associate Director of Student Programs Jana Vise. “I was an English major, so of course I love her from that point of view – reading her works and everything. I think this is a chance people can’t miss out on, to come and see her, to hear what she has to say. I think she’s really going to make an impact on people.”
Story: R. SCOTT MORRIS, A&E Editor