Questions About a Maya Angelou Quote

Questions About a Maya Angelou Quote
The United States Postal Service has issued a new stamp featuring Maya Angelou’s portrait and a quote attributed to her. The quote is:”A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” In 1969, she published an autobiography titled I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

However the quote included on the new stamp cannot be found in this book, or apparently from any other book published or written by her. The Washington Post reported that the 1967 book A Cup of Sun by John Walsh Anglund contains a poem with an almost identical line: the only difference being the punctuation and the use of the pronoun “he” rather than “it” to describe the bird.

A number of Internet websites attribute the quote to Angelou, but without providing a source for it. A Grecian blues music blog includes an interview with Angelou that publishes the quote as part of one of her responses. Other Internet sites simply identify the quote as a Chinese proverb.

The same quote seems to have been posted without any additional attribution on the timeline of a Maya Angelou “verified” Facebook page on November 23, 2013. this was even cited by President Obama as a Maya Angelou quote just last year.
A reporter for the Washington Post has supposedly reported that Anglund confirmed that the quote is from her 1967 book. If the Post Office knew the quote’s real origin, they would most certainly have used a different quote on the new Maya Angelou stamp.

Anglund is being very gracious about the whole affair and has expressed admiration for Angelou and wishes that the postage stamp honoring her will be successful.

Which brings us back to the issue of whether the stamp should be reissued with a quote that can be attributed to Maya Angelou? A recent poll on Linn’s Stamps indicated by a margin of 2:1 that the stamp should be reissued with a more appropriate quote.

Other concerns are how much it would cost to reissue a new stamp, or whether the Post Office shouldn’t have been in such a rush to honor Angelou on a stamp. I am not saying she is not worth honoring on a postage stamp, just that it should have not been rushed to production. Obviously, there was some controversy as to the origin of the quote to begin with




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