side bar
logo
Saturday, February 27, 2021

Life + Arts

Angelou lecture resonates


Part performer, part academic and part statesman, Maya Angelou addressed a packed Sarofim Hall on Saturday as part of the Brilliant Lecture Series.

Angelou seemed almost dainty on stage, her 6-foot, 80-year-old frame folded on a wooden chair behind a microphone. Yet from the moment she spoke, her voice, filled the hall with its commanding presence and reminding the audience why her work and life have been as distinguished as they have.

Angelou opened the lecture with poem and song, ending in the coda ‘When it looks like the sun, won’t shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds,’ a line adapted from a passage in Genesis and punctuating her points throughout the evening.’ She spoke of her parents’ divorce, her childhood in Stamps, Ark., and her uncle Willie and his influence on her early childhood.

Uncle Willie later turns out to be a major influence on various movers and shakers in Arkansas, from being a state legislator to the mayor of Little Rock.’ Her revelations and discussions spanned a lifetime of experience, from the value of humor (‘I don’t trust any person who doesn’t laugh’) to the heartbreaking moment when she became mute for six years.

‘I thought my voice had killed him,’ she said, speaking of the man who had raped her, served one day in prison and was released, only to be kicked to death.

She spoke of delivering ‘A Brave and Startling Truth’ to the United Nations’ 50th anniversary, contrasting this invitation to her first experience with the UN, crying outside its doors, pregnant at 19, watching Lady Bird Johnson enter and wishing she could someday be allowed inside.

During the question-and-answer period for schoolchildren in the audience, she fielded questions on her youth, lifelong learning, education and her opinions on the role of young people and their future education.

‘We are desperate for you,’ she said.

‘You are paid for; yes you can,’ she said, exhorting the youth in the audience to pursue ambition and achievement.

Even though Angelou has delivered similar lectures before, she still manages to speak to the individual, wherever they find her.

Part performer, part academic and part statesman, Maya Angelou addressed a packed Sarofim Hall on Saturday as part of the Brilliant Lecture Series.

Angelou seemed almost dainty on stage, her 6-foot, 80-year-old frame folded on a wooden chair behind a microphone. Yet from the moment she spoke, her voice, filled the hall with its commanding presence and reminding the audience why her work and life have been as distinguished as they have.

Angelou opened the lecture with poem and song, ending in the coda ‘When it looks like the sun, won’t shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds,’ a line adapted from a passage in Genesis and punctuating her points throughout the evening.’ She spoke of her parents’ divorce, her childhood in Stamps, Ark., and her uncle Willie and his influence on her early childhood.

Uncle Willie later turns out to be a major influence on various movers and shakers in Arkansas, from being a state legislator to the mayor of Little Rock.’ Her revelations and discussions spanned a lifetime of experience, from the value of humor (‘I don’t trust any person who doesn’t laugh’) to the heartbreaking moment when she became mute for six years.

‘I thought my voice had killed him,’ she said, speaking of the man who had raped her, served one day in prison and was released, only to be kicked to death.

She spoke of delivering ‘A Brave and Startling Truth’ to the United Nations’ 50th anniversary, contrasting this invitation to her first experience with the UN, crying outside its doors, pregnant at 19, watching Lady Bird Johnson enter and wishing she could someday be allowed inside.

During the question-and-answer period for schoolchildren in the audience, she fielded questions on her youth, lifelong learning, education and her opinions on the role of young people and their future education.

‘We are desperate for you,’ she said.

‘You are paid for; yes you can,’ she said, exhorting the youth in the audience to pursue ambition and achievement.

Even though Angelou has delivered similar lectures before, she still manages to speak to the individual, wherever they find her.


Back to Top ↑
  • Sign up for our Email Edition

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Polls

    How are your classes going so far?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...