THE remarkable poet, storyteller, educator, civil rights activist and novelist Maya Angelou, who has died at the age of 86, spent her life as an unstoppable force for art, justice, and love. Her writing touched on themes of struggle and sadness, and often drew on her faith as a source of strength to find beauty and perseverance in hard times.
She is best known for her groundbreaking autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, a coming-of-age story in a hostile society in the American South in the 1930s and ’40s that deals with racism and rape. It is considered an American classic.
In addition to her many books, she was a Grammy winner for three spoken-word albums.
In 1993, she read On the Pulse of the Morning at President Clinton’s first inauguration, a performance that made the poem a bestseller. The poem celebrates the diversity of ethnic groups in the US, and calls on the nation to leave behind cynicism and look forward to a new pride in itself, and a new dawn for the country.
Here it is