And Still I Rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou, from Still I Rise

Marguerite Ann Johnson was famously known as Maya Angelou. She was a poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. Maya and I were friends…she just didn’t know it. I have admired her, read and re-read her poems and books, and followed her life since I was a young girl. In the late 1990’s, Mama and I even drove to hear Maya speak at an engagement at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. What a force! In my eyes, she was perfectly imperfect. I admired that she authentically and freely shared her life’s journey with anyone who cared to take a look at her works. During her life, Maya published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows. Still I Rise is a poem so fitting for Black History Month as it celebrates the indomitable spirit of Black people. This poem is probably Maya’s most famous, and said to be her favorite.