Famed poet Maya Angelou, a beloved cultural figure, passed away today at the age of 86. She leaves behind a trove of inspirational prose, most notably her signature work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Angelou also spoke out on political matters, doing so primarily from the left.
Her reaction to the election of black senator Barack Obama to the presidency mirrored how some on the left view America:
I realized, almost within the minute, I don’t have to apologize for my country when I’m abroad. I can say: “I belong to a great country.” And the Europeans who say: aren’t you glad to be here in France where we don’t have the racism you live under? Aren’t you glad you’re here in Britain, where we don’t have — I mean, I’ve been on the defensive so long. This time I can say: “I am an American: look at us, look at what we’ve just achieved.
She famously threw her support behind convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and rallied on behalf of same-sex marriage.
Angelou didn’t toe the liberal line without taking a step away now and then. She slammed President Obama’s school reform policies–specifically his Race to the Top initiative.
Recent policy changes by your Administration have not lowered the stakes. On the contrary, requirements to evaluate teachers on student test scores impose more standardized exams and crowd out exploration.
The poet also acknowledged being a proud gun owner, hardly a liberal position on such a hot button topic.