From cable-car conductor and Martha Graham dancer to civil rights advocate and poet laureate, Maya Angelou was and will always be one of our country’s most captivating figures.
If you’ve wanted to pay your respects, Harlem’s Schomburg Center has compiled a tribute to its longtime neighbor with the exhibit “Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou, 1928-2014.”
Enter the building’s lobby and you can’t miss the glass case directly in front of you. It may look small, but it’s filled with the writer’s work and personal ephemera.
There’s the handwritten draft of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the original copy of “On the Pulse of the Morning” (the poem she wrote and recited for Bill Clinton’s first inauguration), a grade-school drawing of the Arkansas flag (where she lived as a child and where Caged Bird is set) and a typed letter from Malcolm X requesting that she join him in starting the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
“Phenomenal Woman” isn’t a huge exhibition (you can see the whole thing in about 10 minutes), but it is touching and genuine--just as Dr. Angelou would have had it.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd. (at 135th St.); 917-275-6975 or nypl.org