Newspaper article The Florida Times Union
Poet Inspires in Message of Hope 5,000 Give Angelou Standing Ovation
Author and poet Maya Angelou melded stories into songs and
weaved songs into poems without pausing as she spoke at a free
event at the University of North Florida arena last night.
Angelou, who received a standing ovation from 5,000
spectators before uttering a word, entered and ended singing
from an African-American spiritual, "When it looked like the sun
wouldn't shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds."
Her theme for the evening was how poetry can serve as a
rainbow in the clouds, proof that "even at the dreariest time,
you can see hope."
And though she showed pride in her black heritage and
womanhood through the poems of strength she recited, the
69-year-old heralded tolerance among the races, among "white
brothers and sisters and white nephews and nieces.
"We have the right and the privilege to call each other
brother and sister," she said. "Human beings are more alike than
we are unalike."
Known as an actress and former singer-dancer, Angelou
performed the parts of characters while reciting African
proverbs, her own poetry and the work of William Shakespeare and
other authors. She performed as part of UNF's Presidential
Angelou said Paul Lawrence Dunbar's I Know Why the Caged Bird
Sings , which she adopted as the name for one of her four
autobiographies, was written for her and for everyone.
As was Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice .
"When I left Stamps, Ark. …