The city is inviting one and all to assemble at Corpening Plaza on Saturday, April 19, for a hometown salute to poet, author and actress Maya Angelou in celebration of her 80th birthday.
The festivities will begin at 1 p.m. and will include cake and punch, a reading of Angelou’s poem "Phenomenal Women," drumming, jazz music, performances by the North Carolina Black Repertory Co. and students at the N.C. School of the Arts, Winston-Salem State University and Wake Forest University, and more.
"Dr. Angelou has enriched our community both with her work and her presence as one of our most distinguished citizens," said Mayor Allen Joines. "Our celebration is a fitting recognition of her achievements and a chance to introduce her work to the next generation."
In the event of rain the celebration will be held in the Kenneth R. Williams Auditorium on the campus of Winston-Salem State University, 601 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Angelou has lived in Winston-Salem since 1981, when Wake Forest University gave her a lifetime appointment as the school’s first Reynolds Professor of American Studies. Angelou is best known for "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," the first volume of her autobiography, which was nominated for a National Book Award. Her volume of poetry "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die," published in 1971, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. In 1993, President Bill Clinton invited Angelou to recite her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning" at his inauguration.