Maya Angelou is, without a doubt, one of the nation’s most revered authors. Her poems, memoirs and other creative projects over her six-decade career have cemented her place as the preeminent woman of letters still living. In 1993, she read her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the Clinton inauguration, the first poet to do so in over 30 years.
Angelou has led such and extraordinary life that she donated 343 boxes of personal memorabilia to the Schomburg Center for Black Culture in New York City. Among those personal effects are letters from James Baldwin, Gordon Parks and Malcolm X, as well as an edited version of her inauguration poem. She is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an honor she says she was delighted to accept from a black president, and was recently honored on “The BET Honors,” which repeats tonight at 10 p.m. EST.