Maya Angelou: Behind the Stamp | Rock Candy

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maya Angelou: Behind the Stamp

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge maya.jpg

A friend just pointed me to this interesting post by Ian Crouch of the New Yorker about the U.S. Postal Service's brand-new Maya Angelou stamp, which was officially issued last week in a ceremony featuring Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. The stamp features a quotation — "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song" — that, as the Washington Post pointed out, wasn't actually written by Angelou, but by the poet Joan Walsh Anglund.

As Crouch writes:

The practice of misattribution has a long history, but it has thrived in recent years thanks to the Internet, where minor falsehoods metastasize at an alarming speed. The scourge of false quotations has even produced a counter-industry of investigative sites and finger-wagging skeptics dedicated to setting the record straight. But, for now, in the battle between historical accuracy and every single clever observation ever uttered being credited to either Mark Twain or Winston Churchill, the misattributors are winning. In the case of Angelou, who became associated with the quote largely thanks to quotation-aggregation sites and through social sharing online, the misattribution made the leap from the Web and to the world stage: Slate points out that Angelou was incorrectly credited as the author of the phrase during an introduction to her remarks at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Ten years later, President Obama attributed the quotation to Angelou during his presentation of the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal. “The late, great Maya Angelou once said . . . ” Obama began, and by then, it seems, he wasn’t wrong.

Crouch also notes that "more than eighty million Angelou stamps were produced, and there are no plans to retract them."

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Will Stephenson

  • A Q&A with Peter Guralnick

    On writing biographies, Elvis, Charlie Rich and more.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Ruthie Foster comes to South on Main

    Also, Mumford and Sons at Verizon, 29th Annual Ozark UFO Conference in Eureka Springs, Fantastic Cinema and Craft Beer Festival at Riverdale and Melanne Verveer at the Clinton School.
    • Apr 7, 2016
  • Goodbye to all that (Arkansas edition)

    What I'm trying to say is that I'm quitting the Arkansas Times — this is my last week — and not because I hated it, but because I loved it so much.
    • Apr 6, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • John Goodson and others add lawyers for hearing on forum shopping

    Lawyers facing federal court sanctions for forum shopping a class action insurance case have brought in new legal guns from out of state to fight potential sanctions.
    • May 26, 2016
  • Lawyers plead for mercy in Fort Smith forum shopping case

    Twelve of the lawyers facing punishment by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith for moving a class action case against an insurance company out of his court to a state court where it was speedily settled have filed their argument against sanctions.
    • Jun 16, 2016

Most Shared

  • Discussion: State killing of the mentally ill

    The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and others will have a forum on mental illness and the death penalty at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Bowen School of Law's Friday Courtroom.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

More »

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation