Maya Angelou stamp includes quote that isn't hers

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Maya Angelou Stamp Has Glaring Error


Maya Angelou was known for her inspirational and thought-provoking quotes, so it's only fitting that a stamp commemorating her features one.

A new postage stamp that was unveiled in a dedication ceremony Tuesday morning celebrating the late literary icon aimed to do just that. It features her image with the quote, "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." Except that quote ... isn't Angelou's.

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Maya Angelou stamp includes quote that isn't hers
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: (L-R) Guy Johnson, son of Maya Angelou, and Colin Johnson, grandson of Maya Angelou, speak at the Dr. Maya Angelou Forever Stamp Dedication Ceremony at Warner Theatre on April 7, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leah Puttkammer/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: Singer Alyson Williams sings the National Anthem at the Dr. Maya Angelou Forever Stamp Dedication Ceremony at Warner Theatre on April 7, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leah Puttkammer/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: Oprah Winfrey speaks the Dr. Maya Angelou Forever Stamp Dedication Ceremony at Warner Theatre on April 7, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leah Puttkammer/FilmMagic)
US TV personality Oprah Winfrey speaks on April 7, 2015 at the unveiling ceremony of the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC.  (Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
From L to R, Eleanor Traylor, English Graduate Professor of English at Howard University, poet Nikki Giovanni, US First Lady Michelle Obama, Postmaster General Megan Brennan, Oprah Winfrey and artist Ross Rossin stand under a projection of the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp at its unveiling at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC, on April 7, 2015.(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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Those words actually belong to Joan Walsh Anglund, an 89-year-old children's book author.

She told The Washington Post the line appeared in her book of poems "A Cup of Sun," which was published in 1967. The only change is in the pronouns and punctuation -- from "he" to "it" on the stamp.

Upon hearing about the misattribution, a Postal Service spokesman told The Post the quote is credited to Angelou by numerous references, including in one of President Obama's speeches in 2013.

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Maya Angelou stamp includes quote that isn't hers
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2008 file photo, author Maya Angelou delivers a tribute to South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at the State Department in Washington. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison were among the expected speakers at a tribute to Maya Angelou, the author, poet and stage performer who died earlier this year. The event was to be held Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 at The Riverside Church in Manhattan, a few blocks west of a Harlem town house Angelou owned in recent years. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
FILE - In a Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama kisses author and poet Maya Angelou after awarding her the 2010 Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Maya Angelou’s iconic words and lyrics will be blended with hip-hop beats for a new album called “Caged Bird Songs.” The album is one of the last projects Angelou completed before she passed in May, her grandson Colin A. Johnson said in an interview Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. Shawn Rivera, the lead singer of R&B group Az Yet, and RoccStarr, who co-wrote Chris Brown’s “Fine China,” produced the 13-song set, to be released through Smooch Music on Nov. 4. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Sara Bareilles performs on stage while an image of Maya Angelou appears during an in memorium tribute at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Phylicia Rashad speaks on stage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Sunday, June 29, 2014, in Los Angeles. Pictured on screen is Maya Angelou. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
A bouquet of flowers and a magazine showing Maya Angelou on the cover lie outside a gate at the home of Angelou in Winston-Salem, N.C., Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Angelou, a Renaissance woman and cultural pioneer, has died, Wake Forest University said in a statement Wednesday. She was 86. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Maya Angelou, poet in residence at Wake Forest University, talks about the poem she wrote for President Clinton's inauguration from her office in Winston-Salem, N.C., Sept. 16, 1996. Angelou will narrate the poem to music Saturday at the school. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
8th April 1978: American poet and author Maya Angelou gestures while speaking in a chair during an interview at her home. (Photo by Jack Sotomayor/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
American writer and poet Maya Angelou in New York City, April 1994. (Photo by Michael Brennan/Getty Images)
American poet and writer Maya Angelou shown on Dec. 15, 1992 in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY - Maya Angelou answers questions at her portrait unveiling at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, April 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Paul Morigi/AP Images for National Portrait Gallery)
Dr. Maya Angelou speaks on race relations at Congregation B’nai Israel and Ebenezer Baptist Church on January 16, 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida.(Photo by Jeff Daly/Invision/AP)
FILE - In this May 20, 2010 file photo, poet and author Maya Angelou smiles at a garden party at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. Angelou's latest book, memoir "Mom & Me & Mom," is a sweet ode to "Lady," her mother Vivian Baxter, and "Momma," her paternal grandmother Annie Henderson. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, file)
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2008 file photo, poet Maya Angelou is shown in Washington. Angelou will not attend the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon where she will be honored due to issues with her health. Major League Baseball announced Friday, May 23, 2014 because of “health reasons” the 86-year-old won’t make it to the May 30 event in Houston before the annual Civil Rights Game. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert,File)
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., right, and poet Maya Angelou, left, acknowledge the crowd during a campaign stop at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, April 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Writer Maya Angelou sautes some onions and peppers in the kitchen of the Sugar Bar restaurant Monday, Sept. 29, 1997, in New York, where she spent the day cooking a meal as a guest chef for a benefit dinner later in the evening. Proceeds from the five course dinner she prepared were to be donated to the Betty Shabazz Foundation. (AP Photo/Rob Schoenbaum)
Newly sworn-in U.S. President Bill Clinton reaches out to hug poet Maya Angelou after she delivered her inaugural poem on the west steps of the Capitol during inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 1993. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Coretta Scott King, left, widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and poet Maya Angelou leave New York's Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx section of New York on Monday, June 2, 1997, after they prayed at Betty Shabazz's bedside. Betty Shabazz is in critical condition with third degree burns over 80 percent of her body after being injured Sunday in an early morning fire of suspicious origin in her Yonkers apartment.(AP Photo/David Karp)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a tribute to Maya Angelou at The Riverside Church in Manhattan, Friday Sept. 12, 2014 in New York. Family and friends filled the church to remember Angelou, the author, poet and stage performer who died earlier this year. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a tribute to Maya Angelou at The Riverside Church in Manhattan, Friday Sept. 12, 2014 in New York. Family and friends filled the church to remember Angelou, the author, poet and stage performer who died earlier this year. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY - Left to right, Johnnetta Cole, director of the National Museum of African Art, Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey pose for a photo backstage at Maya Angelou's portrait unveiling at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, April 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Paul Morigi/AP Images for National Portrait Gallery)
President Barack Obama kisses author and poet Maya Angelou after awarding her the 2010 Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
First lady Michelle Obama applauds to BET honoree poet Maya Angelou after receiving the Literary Arts Award during the BET Honors, at right Willow Smith looks on at the Warner Theatre in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Maya Angelou, left, Alicia Keys and Oprah Winfrey share laughs during a star-studded double-taping of "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," Tuesday, May 17, 2011, in Chicago. "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is ending its run May 25, after 25 years, and millions of her fans around the globe are waiting to see how she will close out a show that spawned a media empire. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Maya Angelou, left, and Oprah Winfrey share laughs during a star-studded double-taping of "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," Tuesday, May 17, 2011, in Chicago. "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is ending its run May 25, after 25 years, and millions of her fans around the globe are waiting to see how she will close out a show that spawned a media empire. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, is framed in the center of a wreath as he listens to poet Maya Angelou perform a poem during the dedication ceremony for the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York, Friday Oct. 5, 2007. The ceremony came more than 16 years after the burial ground was rediscovered during excavations for a federal building in 1991. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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But once Anglund confirmed it was in fact hers, he said, "Had we known about this issue beforehand, we would have used one of [Angelou's] many other works. . . . The sentence held great meaning for her and she is publicly identified with its popularity."

Anglund took it all in stride, saying, "I think it easily happens sometimes that people hear something, and it's kind of going into your subconscious, and you don't realize it. I love [Maya Angelou] and all she's done."

Angelou died last year at the age of 86. Among the many honors the famed author/poet received during her life, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the highest honor given to a US civilian -- in 2010.

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