R.I.P. M.A.

May 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

RIP-MA Rest In Peace Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou 1928-2014  Rest In Peace


I initially published this drawing without words. How is it possible to honor someone so eloquent with any language of my own? But as I thought about Maya Angelou, I recalled a special memory I wanted to share.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published the year I was born, and from my earliest memories it sat on my parents’ vast bookshelves amongst my minister Father’s religious books, my English professor Mother’s literature, the World Book Encyclopedias. Long before I read Caged Bird, I remember asking my Mother about it, as the title (and cover) intrigued my young mind. She painted only the broadest strokes of the plot, but in the process I received my first lesson about racism.

The book is set in Arkansas, birthplace of Ms. Angelou, as well as both my parents, and home to nearly all my relatives. I lived there between the ages of 2 and 7, and one of my frequent playground pals was Felicia, a black girl. Racism was confusing when my Mother explained it then, and I dread the confused look on my son’s face when I explain it to him.

I’m thankful to Maya Angelou for finding beauty in the midst of horrible humanity, and for teaching generations (and generations to come) what it means to have hope.

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7 responses to “R.I.P. M.A.”

  1. Dada Mike says:

    Absolute click-chills! Beautiful and poignant illustration.

  2. How is this not the iconic image of the moment? It is perfect, Brent.

  3. This is perfect. Tears form every time I think of the beauty that we’ve lost. I talk about her to my two daughters all the time. It’s like losing a mentor and grandmother that I have never met and dreamed to one day.

    I am from Selma, AL, am white and grew up with racism all around me. I didn’t understand it. She is an icon of bravery and an example that I, and my children, will always remember.

    Thank you for this image and sharing your sentiment.

  4. Marc says:


  5. Larry says:

    Great pic – so appropriate.
    Ms. Angelou wrote some amazing poems, and I would put Caged Bird at or near the top of the work I know by her.

  6. mom says:

    Great tribute! I heard MA speak at the Univ. of Illinois in 1981. She wore a beautiful African dress & head piece and read some of her poetry and presented a bit of her bio. Later, I used a video in my eighth grade English class of her reading her poem at Clinton’s first inauguration (1992 & we were reading one of her stories in English class at RAF Alconbury.) The event made me Arkansas proud:)

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