USPS, Maya Angelou Never Wrote That
Even President Barack Obama messed up the quote right in front of Maya Angelou. Then first lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey took the stage Tuesday, right in front of the "Forever" stamp and its quote during the U.S. Postal Service's issuance ceremony. If that can happen, it seems as though the USPS could almost be given a pass for misattributing Angelou. But not from the Internet.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the misattributed quote, "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song," became replaced with gems such as, "Thanks, Obama" and "I totally lied. Words mean nothing. Now leave me alone."
USPS maintained in a column published on Tuesday in The Washington Post that Angelou said the quoted phrase several times. "After the newspaper informed him that [children's book author Joan Walsh] Anglund had claimed the quote, [USPS spokesman Mark] Saunders recanted but maintained that Angelou is 'publicly identified with [the sentence's] popularity,' " Mashable writes.
"It's official! The #MayaForever stamp has been unveiled. Thanks @Oprah @FLOTUS @MHarrisPerry & @IAmSophiaNelson!"
— U.S. Postal Service (@USPS) April 7, 2015
On Monday, columnist Lonnae O'Neal informed the USPS that the quote actually came from "A Cup of Sun," by Joan Walsh Anglund, copyright 1967. Mashable adds that Anglund uses the pronoun "he" instead of "it."
"YOU HAD ONE JOB, USPS," exclaims "Luvvie" Tuesday evening on theGrio.
The USPS response to Target Marketing's request for comment on Wednesday didn't comment on any redress for direct mailers who've used the stamp. The stamp was still for sale on USPS.com on Wednesday.
"Maya Angelou cited this sentence frequently in media interviews and other forums and it provides a connection to her first memoir, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,' " Saunders tells Target Marketing on Wednesday. "The sentence was chosen to accompany her image on the stamp to reflect her passion for the written and spoken word. The sentence held great meaning for her, and she is publicly identified with its popularity. We were not aware of Joan Walsh Anglund's book 'A Cup of Sun,' written in 1967, until the reporter brought it to our attention. It appears that Ms. Anglund's poems and books have been cherished by many readers over the years.