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Maya Angelou Donates Personal Papers to the New York Public Library

Renowned poet Maya Angelou has donated 300 boxes filled with her personal papers to the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Angelou had this quote in the press release: “The Schomburg is a repository of the victories and the losses of the African American experience … I am grateful that it exists so that all the children, Black and White, Asian, Spanish-Speaking, Native American, and Aleutian can know there is a place where they can go and find the truth of the peoples’ history.”

The donation contains the notes for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and some of her most famous poems. One notable inclusion are the notes for the poem written at the request of former President Bill Clinton, On the Pulse of Morning. The video embedded above shows her reading it at Clinton’s 1993 inauguration. Several unpublished manuscripts and poems have also been included in the lot.

Angelou was the second poet to ever read at a presidential swearing-in ceremony. Robert Frost was the first, reading at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. In 2009, Elizabeth Alexander read for President Barack Obama. (Via NPR)

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