Dr. Maya Angelou unveils a new poem about Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Dr. Maya Angelou unveiled a poem written for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The acclaimed poet recited the piece at the Women Who Dare to Dream luncheon, which paid tribute to the unsung sheroes of the Civil Rights Movement.

    The poem, "Abundant Hope," will be put in a time capsule at the postponed MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication ceremony that was originally scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 28.

    During Dr. Angelou’s introduction, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman told the audience that she called Dr. Angelou only two weeks ago to request the poem. Clearly, the literary legend still has it.

    She sat in a chair and read the poem as only she could, while fellow activists, living legends and powerful, talented sistren listened in silence. India.Arie, who performed at the luncheon, stood close to the stage wearing a smile as she listened. In fact, a hush fell over the room and even the sound of forks clanking actually stopped as she read. Phenomenal woman, that’s her.

     

    Other influential women in attendance included Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of activist Medgar Evers. She addressed the luncheon expressing how pleased she was to be among so many successful Black women. "I felt such a sense of pride as I saw the women get up from corporate America, women in government, women in all aspects of American life, and I had to say, ‘God I thank you for allowing me to live long enough to see these things happen.’ …We used to be the spook who sat by the door and we moved in and we opened the door for others. And look at us now."

    Here is a portion of "Abundant Hope." The entire poem can be read at WhiteHouse.gov.

    Reverend Martin Luther King

    The great soul

    
Flew from the Creator

    
Bearing manna of hope

    
For his country


    Starving severely from an absence of compassion.

     

    Martin Luther King

    The Great Spirit

    Came from the Creator


    Proffering a sparkling fountain of fair play

    
To his country


    Parched and deformed by hate.

    The whole man came forth

    
With a brain of gentle wisdom

    
To persuade quiet


    Upon the loud misery of the mob.

    A whole man stood out

    
With a mellifluous voice


    To bind the joints of cruelty.

    A whole man came

    
In the midst of a murderous nightmare

    
Surrounded by demons of war


    He dared to dream peace and serenity.

    With a heart of faith


    He hoped


    To resurrect his nation.

     

    I open my mouth to the Lord,


    And I won’t turn back.

    Martin Luther King

    Faced the racial


    Mountain of segregation and


    And bade it move.

    The giant mound of human ignorance


    Centuries old

    
And rigid in its determination


    Did move, however slightly, however infinitesimally,

    
It did move.


    I will go, I shall go


    I’ll see what the end will be.

    Watch Dr. Angelou recite a portion of her poem below.

     

     

     

     

    —Sabrina M. Parker

     

     

    Here’s more:
    Civil rights luncheon honors leaders
    Get a first look at the MLK Memorial

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