The U.S. Postal Service not only has issues with a new limited edition “Forever” stamp honoring Maya Angelou with a quote written by another author but it doesn’t appear particularly disturbed about it. The stamp above features the quote “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” However, that is a quote from child book author Joan Walsh Anglund.
Someone changed Anglund’s quote to replace “he” with “it” and then left the impression that it was a quote from Angelou who has ample quotes of her own worthy for a stamp.
The quote was taken from Anglund’s 1967 book of poems “A Cup of Sun.”
I view the use of another author’s quote for this commemorative stamp to be terribly insulting and embarrassing but it did not seem to bother the U.S. Postal Service. Spokesman Mark Saunders admitted that he was unaware of the Anglund quote, but told the Washington Post that many people mistakenly attribute the quote to Angelou. This includes President Obama who used the quote, pointing out that “numerous references” attributed the quote to Angelou.
Indeed, President Obama attributed the same quote to Angelou during the presentation of the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal. Again a bizarre and embarrassing use of another author’s work. Saunders however dug deeper into the hole and insisted “The sentence held great meaning for her and she is publicly identified with its popularity.” Perhaps but it is not her work. It is like a stamp honoring the great architect Mies van der Rohe with the image of a Le Corbusier building.
What is truly bizarre is that between the Postal Service and President Obama, Anglund appears to be losing credit for her own writing. It is now becoming “associated” with Angelou and that appears to be enough for the government.
The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda.
Source: Washington Post