Entertains A Large Crowd at UNCP
the full-range of her talents, Maya Angelou delighted a crowd of more
than 2,600 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
A poet, author and
professor, Angelou entertained Tuesday, Feb. 26 the largest crowd, by
far, in the history of UNCP's Distinguished Speaker series. Due to overwhelming
demand, the venue was moved to the Jones Athletic Complex, and nearly
100 watched on closed circuit television in the University Center lounge.
Angelou was energized
by an adoring crowd, which gave her several lengthy standing ovations.
my heart that this is largest crowd to hear a speaker in Pembroke,"
Angelou said. "I thought I was coming to your arts center, and
I find myself in your stadium."
She proceeded to
sing, recite poetry, laugh and cry while delivering a message that covered
a "rainbow" of emotions.
it looks like the sun isn't going to shine any more, God put a rainbow
in the clouds," she said introducing her theme for the evening.
"Each one of us has the possibility, the responsibility, the probability
to be the rainbow in the clouds."
Growing up in tiny
Stamps, Ark., Angelou told the story of being raised by a caring family
and of crippled "Uncle Willie" who taught her to do multiplication
"We can change
the world -- in Pembroke or New York City, in Stamps, Arkansas or Rome,
Italy," she said. "Rather than give over our power, we must
take it for ourselves."
Angelou said it
is no small irony that she speaks to thousands of people each year when
at one point in her life, she was mute. She told the story of her childhood
rape and the untimely death of the perpetrator.
that my voice had killed him, so I became mute," Angelou said.
"I thought if I spoke I could kill anyone."
the aid of several tissues, she said during this mute period, her grandmother
said, "When you and the Lord are ready, you are going to be a teacher."
"I don't know
how she knew," Angelou said. "It is my blessing .. to be that
for somebody. My grandmother was the daughter of an ex-slave and had
about four years of education."
She encouraged the
crowd to reject fear and have the courage to stand up against racial
and ethnic "pejoratives."
I think we climb up the weakest side of the mountain," Angelou
said. "Courage is the most important of all virtues because without
it all the other virtues cannot be applied consistently."
"Each of us
has the possibility to change the world where we are," she said.
"I will change what I can, and what I can't, I will try to see
a new way, and, maybe, that will change."
is time for us, as adults and Americans, to change the climate in the
rooms where we live," Angelou said. "When you learn, teach;
when your get, give. As for me, I shall not be moved. Each of us has
the possibility and the privilege of becoming the rainbow."
Church, school and
civic groups arrived early on campus in busloads to hear the famed writer
and teacher. They were not disappointed.
Angelou is a professor
at Wake Forest University and has won a Grammy and been nominated for
two Tony Awards, the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She
has acted and directed films and written numerous books or poetry and
prose, including "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," which
tells the story of her childhood difficulties and ultimate triumph.
Speaker Series continues April 2 with Native American author Sherman
Alexie. Corporate sponsors for Angelou's appearance were The Robesonian,
The Fayetteville Observer, the Carolina Women's Center of Laurinburg
and Native Angles Homecare of Pembroke.
to University Newswire