Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Poet, Activist, Girl Scout Maya Angelou dies at 86

It is with great sadness that we come to find that American poet and Girl Scout, Maya Angelou has passed after a long illness.

If there has ever been an embodiment of courage, confidence and character, Maya Angelou was it. Born in St. Louis in 1928, after a childhood of adversity, she became one of the most prominent poets of our time. She is known for her extensive body of work but her most well-known piece was the memoir "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

During the Girl Scouts' 100th year celebration, she spoke:

"Imagine a time when women could not vote. And in some cases they could not even own property. Imagine a time when women's maiden names were lost the minute they married. Imagine a climate  in which a girl student, in the United States, even as in other countries less developed, did not have the same value as boy student. And the two words "women" and "rights" were never mentioned together[...] Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the girl Scouts of the United States of America, decided that in order to have an upbeat and productive society, women and girls should be addressed and girls should be addressed first[...] Much to her surprise, the Girl Scouts of America became larger than anything Mrs. Low could have dreamed. In fact, today most female leaders, will state proudly that they encountered authority and discipline in the 20th century as members of the Girl Scouts organization.

They proudly wear the badge and they proudly support the organization which intends and intended to bring the girls out of the kitchen to the office and from the sewing room into America's great hiking trails. These women have decided that are they are more than just old f-e-m-a-l-e-s. They proudly say that they are w-o-m-e-n.Women. 

Girl Scouts of America, I salute you. Congratulations. Celebrations for your 100th year. I can say that because I, too, was a Girl Scout..."

She led a rich life and gave a voice to many who didn't have one. Throughout her life she showed strength and grit, overcoming and becoming one of the most renowned poets of our time.

"You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise."

-Maya Angelou

Rest in peace, Ms. Angelou. You will be dearly missed.

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