On a rainy Tuesday in March of 2006, Maya Angelou addressed a gathering of 3,600 on the campus of East Tennessee State University.
Her message: be a rainbow in the crowd.
To Angelou, being a rainbow in the crowd meant hope. It meant not giving up. It meant being a blessing to others, even if they don’t look like you, speak like you or dance your dances.
Rainbow in the Clouds
Today we feel sadness because of her death and gratitude because of her life. Angelou’s example of tolerance, love and grace have and will be a rainbow in the cloud for us. We are grateful to have had the pleasure of having such a truly remarkable woman on our campus, and we feel privileged to have known her through her works.
Still I Rise
Angelou was an award-winning poet and author as well as a social and civil rights activist. In 1993, she recited “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost in 1961 and the performance of which garnered her a Grammy Award. Her works include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, The Heart of a Woman, Mom & Me & Mom.