Maya Angelou Speaks at Commencement

Maya Angelou, the decorated poet and civil rights activist, speaks at Wheaton’s 146th commencement and is awarded an honorary degree. Angelou is best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which was the first nonfiction bestseller book from an African American woman. In her address, Angelou warns the class of 1981 of the “strange and new America” that awaits them beyond graduation, while assuring them that they are capable of taking it on. Angelou concludes her speech by reciting her poem “Phenomenal Woman”.

Access a transcript of the address here.