Maya Angelou: Some of her most powerful speeches

Published 11:27 AM EDT, Wed May 28, 2014

Story highlights

Angelou was the second poet ever to speak at a presidential inauguration

Her speeches stirred her audience

She honored Coretta Scott King at Mrs. King's funeral

CNN —  

More than anything, Maya Angelou was known for her words.

From her books to her orations, Angelou used language to stir her audiences and reach into their hearts. Here is a sampling of some of her most powerful speeches:

1) Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, 1993

She became the second poet in history to speak at a presidential inauguration – after Robert Frost, who spoke at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural – when she read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the swearing-in of President Bill Clinton in 1993.

2) 2013 National Book Awards

Angelou was selected to receive the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. She sang and offered moving words of gratitude.

3) The funeral of Coretta Scott King, 2008

The writer sang and spoke at the homegoing service for the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King – calling her “born of flesh and destined to become iron.” Angelou was active in the civil rights movement and knew the Kings.

4) The Children’s Defense Fund National Conference, 2012

Angelou shared one of her poems as the keynote speaker at the Children’s Defense Fund National Conference held in Cincinnati in July 2012.

Her words live on.

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