Hopefully, I know were just getting past the Memorial Day weekend. We all hope that we had a good holiday break with the Barbecues, Baseball Games and those days off. But it’s not really about that. It’s really about those who are at rest who fought for those freedoms we endure everyday. Just a word of thought, Memorial Day is for those who have fought and died, not really for those who are living the stories! We all know that May is Military Appreciation Month. Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day. We know this! Know the difference. 

Now today, as we all know already, we lost a legend in the black community. We lost a legend in the black poetry game. And yes we lost for those who want to keep it like this: A great American. Even a black queen!  We lost Dr. Maya Angelou. For 86 years, she has taught us with her poetry, her activism, her wise words for life and most of all, she has taught us well beyond life. She ran her race well.

Back in High School in the early 90’s, Bill Clinton was inaugurated to be the 42nd President of the United States. And yes he got sworn in 1993. And I remember the inauguration biblically. No I wasn’t there, but millions of us were watching as well. One of the highlights I do remember was Maya Angelou’s poem: “On The Pulse Of Morning.” Now most us Gen X, and Baby Boomers remember that. Even most of the Greatest Generation recalled that poem. For you Gen Y and Millenials folks, either you weren’t around or you were way to young to know this. When she read that poem, it was one of her best speeches. No question. I’m not taking anything away from “Still I Rise”, and “I know why the cage bird sings”. They were and still are the top pieces of literature of her craft. But the On The Pulse of Morning poem had all those symbolisms of Dry Tokens, Rocks, Trees, Rivers, and many other symbolic uses. What was the dry tokens in the poem? Bones. Look it up.

And profoundly it’s a symbolic reminder of acceptance, barriers to be mended, new ideas to be planted, focused, previewed and summarized. It’s a plan of having this focus to act. That to me is a pulse. And in the poem it reminds us of everyday reminders, everyday missions, everyday wins and losses, and everyday reminders that the world needs to listen and hear. Those everyday reminders in that poem maybe just words, but those words are telling us that there is work to be done, and not to forget the past for no reason. Even if it’s wars, and dare say Slavery!

Maya Angelou had over 30 Honorary Degrees. And no she didn’t went to college. I know that someone might say, “oh she didn’t went to college but got over 30 honorary degrees?!!  Really? And I’m stuck in this college about to drop out with the mindset of not knowing the real stuff to get a degree.” Now I not advocating folks to drop out here. Finish your college game with the degrees coming up. Finish that stuff! Don’t be like those who say, “I wish I would have gone back and finish.” Well go back and FINISH! Just a suggestion.

Furthermore, she was active! Active as a poet, active in civil rights, active as a professor, active in film, producing, and yes dancer. The keyword in the sentence: ACTIVE! And I’ll bet she was one of those in her generation that did more that one thing and not just one thing and thats it. Learn it young bucks!

Many today right now in 2014, probably might be asking this question or making statements like: “Who was Maya Angelou?”  “I don’t know who she was”. Or here is thought, “What has she done for me and why should I care?!” Don’t be shocked if you see or hear these sentences. Don’t be. If those of us who have those who say those words or sentences, you better tell them! Don’t wait until they’re all so-grown and out of the house and acting like they’re all that. They’re not. That will be like saying folks who believe that going to church is like giving away your money in all. And all that God, Jesus, stuff is just junk! And saying also that religion is foul and the members of the church don’t give a darn about what going on outside of the walls. We know that’s false because there are folks of the cloth knows what’s up. For example: Take a look at your kids’ classrooms, the boardrooms, your place of employment, the voting registration areas, medical, counselors of all professions, the movement of anti-discrimination, anti-violence, the club, your favorite DJ who couldn’t get more music to play for the crowd, the bartender behind the bar giving advice on family. Or your favorite Barber giving you a cut and some job leads outside your element. What about that  Non-Believers?! Answer that! And like those who make the statements, there might be those who will not care about the work of Maya Angelou. Probably will not want that around them. In Milwaukee recently, we had a “Ceasefire Week” which was a reflection of getting the guns off the streets. There were about 300 guns collected, but what happened after that? 18 shootings and this is supposed to drop the guns? Really?!

I know what I just said is not relevant to Maya Angelou’s work or legacy. But what I’m trying to say is that even though it’s not that understandable as of yet, it takes years to understand the gist and objectives of one’s work. It’s not just about reading the words, or looking them up on Google, the words have to have meanings! Those meanings in which everyone should understand fully! Yes, we know about Dr. King and the infamous “I Have A Dream” Speech. We know the words when he mentioned his four little children growing up in the world where they may not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. We know and many of you probably still got that on storage. How many of those who highlighted that section so many times out of storage, and never had the thought to view or hear the entire speech?  And I know that can be the same with Maya Angelou’s poems or words of advice. I’m just saying. So with this in the coming days of Dr. Maya’s home-going, there will be tributes, honors, paintings, words from her on video, her first and last words on social media, and I’ll bet her funeral will not be showcased in a spectacle. It should be respectful. And after all the tributes and all the words of expression, will we still reflect the lessons of Maya Angelou? Will the schools incorporate her work in the classrooms, or in the college classes, (IF THEY ACCEPT MORE OF BLACK STUDIES) or will ordinary folks of everyday duties will just forget and go back to the reality mode like it didn’t happen?

Also in the next coming days will we even care? And I’m not just saying that to black folks. Matter of fact, this is for the black folks. And many others who feel this way. Will we or won’t we?

Dr. Maya Angelou had educated us all. From her generation, to the Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and hopefully some Millennial folks. She was like that grandmother that you should not skip over. That teacher that had to educate you over and over. That senior citizen, that did it, the right way.

Knowledge is power if you want it.


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