Maya Angelou died two years ago but still she lives, a mighty spirit against the small minds of negativity. She lives through her written words, including her signature poem that smacks back hard against some Washington small minds who tried to belittle her last week.
“Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?” she asked in “Still I Rise.”
The Washington folks in question are several members of Congress who soiled what should have been a happy day for all those who cherish the legacy of Winston-Salem’s own Angelou, an international icon. These nine Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against renaming our downtown post office for her, unjustly tying her to the worst of Fidel Castro. The Republicans were responding to a bill filed by Democratic Rep. Alma Adams of Greensboro, a bill that had bipartisan support from the North Carolina delegation.
Such measures usually past unanimously.
But a spokeswoman for Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama told NBC: “While Maya Angelou did many good things in her life, Congressman Brooks did not believe it appropriate to name an American Post Office after a communist sympathizer and thereby honor a person who openly opposed America’s interest by supporting Fidel Castro and his regime of civil rights suppression, torture and murder of freedom-loving Cubans.”
Angelou may have had regard for Cuban leader Fidel Castro decades ago — she wouldn’t be the first to be duped by a false prophet — but it should be obvious that she did not by any measure support suppression, torture and murder. Angelou had an open heart to people hurting the world over, including in Cuba — and in our town. Her art comforts people everywhere, just as her outspoken stands made them think. It’s an insult and petty partisan politics to vote against naming a post office after her.
Angelou is much better known, of course, for her positive contributions to American life. As we wrote two years ago, “She conveyed the tragedy and triumph of her country, from the early days of slavery through the war that ended it through the epic struggle for civil rights … increasingly, her rhapsody was one of redemption, of emphasizing the common humanity of us all.”
Source: Winston Salem Journal Editorial