US Stamps

Maya Angelou quote source questioned

Apr 6, 2015, 12 PM

The Washington Post is reporting that poet Joan Walsh Anglund has confirmed that the quote shown on the Maya Angelou forever stamp issued April 7 is nearly identical to a line from her 1967 book, A Cup of Sun.


A recent newspaper article is questioning the source of the quote that appears on the new Maya Angelou stamp.

Lonnae O'Neal reported April 6 in the Washington Post that the prominent quote on the stamp design, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song,” was published in the book A Cup of Sun by Joan Walsh Anglund, which carries a 1967 copyright. She notes that Jabari Asim, a writing professor at Emerson College in Boston, made the connection.

O'Neal reports that United States Postal Service spokesman Mark Saunders cited an interview attributed to Michael Limnios and published in 2013 on the online blog that quotes Angelou as making the same statement. Saunders said numerous other sources identify Angelou with the quote, and adds that its appearance on the stamp was approved by family members of the late writer.

Angelou's early autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969. She died May 28, 2014.

The Maya Angelou stamp is being issued April 7 in Washington, D.C.

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