Maya Angelou stamp includes quote that isn't hers

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

U.S. poet Maya Angelou speaks during a ceremony to honor South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu with the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding Award in Washington November 21, 2008.

(REUTERS/Jim Young)

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)
Media mogul Russell Simmons escorts poet Maya Angelou to her seat at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, November 13, 2006. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)

Poet and activist Dr. Maya Angelo gives a thumbs up to the delegation after her speech during the second night of the Democratic National Convention at the FleetCenter in Boston, July 27, 2004. Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry is expected to formally accept the party's nomination July 29.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Publisher and talk show host Oprah Winfrey rests her head on the shoulder of poet and author Maya Angelou during a photo opportunity May 5, 2001 before the two participated in a one-on-one dialogue at the Simmons Graduate School of Management Leadership Conference in Boston.

(Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

Poet Maya Angelou (C) speaks at funeral services for Coretta Scott King as U.S. President George Bush and his wife Laura listen at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia February 7, 2006. Coretta Scott King was the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Oprah Winfrey speaks during the dedication ceremony for the Maya Angelou Forever stamp in Washington April 7, 2015. Angelou, a poet, author and civil rights champion, died last year.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Oprah Winfrey laughs with poet Maya Angelou during the taping of "Oprah's Surprise Spectacular" in Chicago May 17, 2011. Winfrey kicked off one of her last-ever national talk shows on Tuesday with hugs from Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise and Madonna in a packed Chicago arena.

(REUTERS/John Gress)

Poet and activist Maya Angelou speaks before delegates during the second night of the 2004 Democratic National Convention at the FleetCenter in Boston, July 27, 2004. More than 4,000 delegates to the convention will nominate John Kerry to challenge President George W. Bush in a November battle for the White House that is essentially a dead heat.

(REUTERS/Gary Hershorn)

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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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