Today, the United States Postal Service gathered to unveil the commemorative Maya Angelou Forever stamp, showcasing Atlanta artist Ross Rossin’s 2013 portrait of her, in front of First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Harris-Perry, Sophia Nelson, Valerie Ashford-Simpson, the Angelou-Johnson family, God and everyone else with the biggest fail they could possibly muster up–the quote on the stamp, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song,” isn’t hers!
The quote belongs to children’s book author, Joan Walsh Anglund and she had no problem telling The Washington Post. She told the Post the quote was from her 1967 book of poems, A Cup Of Sun,” but the USPS changed “he” to “it” on the stamp. Everything about this is irresponsible. No one thought to fact check the quote. Did they leave it up to an intern to pick said quote? Postal Service spokesman Mark Saunders told the Post that he was unaware of Auglund’s quote and that after checking with “numerous references,” they all attributed the quote to Angelou. More irresponsibility. This is the same man who released a statement saying,”The Postal Service used her widely recognized quote to help build an immediate connection between her image and her 1969 nationally recognized autobiography, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.’”
What’s even more hilarious is that President Obama made the same mistake, attributing the misquote to Angelou during the presentation of the 2013 National Medal of Arts & National Humanities Medal. “The late, great Maya Angelou once said, ‘A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.’ Each of the men and women that we honor today has a song — literally, in some cases. For others, it’s a talent, or a drive, or a passion that they just had to share with the world.”
Wooops, maybe that was Saunders’ sources? They have to reprint this historical stamp. Maya has so many incredible quotes!
The late Maya Angelou isn’t the only iconic figure who gets misquoted. Check out these memorable misquotes:
Mother Theresa never said this: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”
Marilyn Monroe never said this: “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” also “Give a girl the right shows and she can conquer the world.”
Bob Marley never said this: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
William Shakespeare never said this: “You say you love rain, but you open your umbrella. You say you love the sun, but you find a shadow spot. You say you love the wind, but you close your windows. This is why I am afraid, you say that you love me too.”