On January 20, 2009, on a freezing cold day in Washington, D.C., Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th U.S. president. The son of a Black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama had become the first African American to win election to the nation’s highest office. Obama referred only briefly to the historic nature of his presidency in his speech, saying only that part of America’s greatness was the fact that “a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”
In my opinion this may have been the most important event in America’s black history. Especially among older black Americans, many of whom never thought they would see it in their lifetime. I can’t leave poetry out of this moment either. Maya Angelou received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2010.
Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist with a colorful and troubling past highlighted in her most famous autobiography, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies and television shows spanning over 50 years. Her works have been considered a defense and celebration of Black culture. I have literally all of her works and some books more than one edition. If you have never read her, you will not regret it. I need to reread them. It’s been a while.
The reason I paired these two together, is because Maya Angelou was born in 1928. She could have never imagined black man being elected in the United States (should we even call ourselves that anymore?). It was a huge accomplishment for all black Americans. But, especially for the older ones. I’m sure she would be shocked to know that she is the first woman chosen to be on the US quarter coming out soon. I am not a fan of the quarter. I don’t think it looks like her at all. But, I am happy she is being represented.
Do you know that quote about when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time? I was very late in life when I learned that. I have many editions of her books and if anyone out there would send me postage and let me know I was sending them in the right place, I would do that. But, it might take me a moment. It would be a hard give but my family would not appreciate it. I’d mail them to you for free, and probably cry, but that is much better than dying with theme in a book bin. And, y’all are all I have . I hope that one day, there are no more black Americans, or White Americans or Hispanic American. I have so many books to send but I cannot carry them anymore.
I’d really love it if my American, Arab, Black , Muslim books could get out there.