List of honors received by Maya Angelou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

African American woman in her fifties, wearing a dark coat, standing at a lectern reading to a crowd gathered behind her.
Maya Angelou reciting her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993.

African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou (1928–2014) was honored by universities, literary organizations, government agencies, and special interest groups. Her honors include a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her book of poetry Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie, a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1973 play Look Away, and three Grammys from five nominations for her spoken-word albums.[1] Beginning in 1982, Angelou held the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

She served on two presidential committees – for Gerald Ford in 1975 and for Jimmy Carter in 1977. In 2000, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. In 2010, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., by President Barack Obama. More than thirty health care and medical facilities have been named after Angelou.[2] She was awarded more than 50 honorary degrees.[3]


Year Honor Notes Ref.
1970 Chubb Fellowship Given by Yale University, provides the recipient with an opportunity to make a public address open to the Yale and New Haven communities, as well as a meal, reception, or seminar with groups of students and faculty [4]
1971 Coretta Scott King Award Given to African-American authors and illustrators of books for children and young people [5]
1972 Pulitzer Prize nomination For Angelou's first book of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie [6]
1973 Tony Award nomination For her role in the Broadway play Look Away [7]
1975–76 Member, American Revolution Bicentennial Council Appointed by President Gerald Ford; The council developed and planned activities and events celebrating the 200th anniversary of the American Revolution. [7]
1975 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Resident Competitive residency program at the foundation's property in Bellagio, Italy, where scholars and artists from all over the world work on projects of their own choosing for a period of four weeks. [8]
1976 Ladies' Home Journal "Woman of the Year in Communication" Award Yearly award given by the magazine [7]
1977 Member, Presidential Commission for International Women's Year Appointed by President Jimmy Carter, the commission was established to make recommendations to end barriers to women's equality in the U.S. [9]
1981 Reynold's Professor of American Studies, Wake Forest University Lifetime appointment [10]
1983 Ladies' Home Journal "Top 100 Most Influential Women" Yearly award given by the magazine [7]
1983 Matrix Award Given by the New York Association for Women in Communications to women who excel in the field of communication [11]
1984 Member, North Carolina Arts Council Committee that gives recommendations to the state's art counsel, especially its policies regarding the arts [10]
1986 Fulbright Program 40th Anniversary Distinguished Lecturer Recognition by the U.S. Department of State for African Americans who have contributed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries ..." [12]
1987 North Carolina Award in Literature Highest honor bestowed by North Carolina; recognizes residents for contributions in scholarship, research, the fine arts, and public leadership [13]
1990 Golden Plate Award, Academy of Achievement Given for accomplishments in the sciences, business, industry, arts, literature, sports, entertainment, and public service [14]
1990 Candace Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women Given to African-American women for leadership and achievement [15]
1991 Langston Hughes Medal Awarded to African-American writers who explore their cultural heritage [16]
1992 Horatio Alger Award Yearly award to those "who have overcome adversity and made significant contributions in their fields" [17]
1992 Distinguished Woman of North Carolina award Given by the North Carolina Council for Women to women who make major contributions in the arts, business, education, government, recreation, or volunteerism [18]
1992 Crystal Award Honors women who have helped expand the role of women in entertainment [19]
1992 St. Louis Walk of Fame Honors individuals from the St. Louis, Missouri area who made major national contributions to our cultural heritage. [20]
1993 Inaugural Poet Named for reading her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration [21]
1993 Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Part of the first group of those native to Arkansas honored as role models for young people [22]
1993 Grammy, "Best Spoken Word Album" First Grammy, for inaugural poem "On the Pulse of Morning" [23]
1994 Rollins College Walk of Fame Stone dedicated on campus walkway made up of rocks and bricks from the homes of over 600 historical figures [24]
1994 Spingarn Medal Given by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for outstanding achievement by an African American [25]
1995 Frank G. Wells American Teachers Award Recognizes those outside the teaching profession who teach [26]
1995 Grammy, "Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Album" For Angelou's performance of her poem Phenomenal Woman [27]
1996 American Ambassador Given by UNICEF to assist with their fundraising efforts [28]
1997 Homecoming Award Given every two years by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers to authors from the U.S. South and Southwest [29]
1998 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction for “Even the Stars Look Lonesome,” [30]
1998 Alston-Jones International Civil & Human Rights Award Bestowed by the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, honoring individuals who have contributed to the Civil Rights Movement[31] [18]
1998 National Women's Hall of Fame Inducted for making contributions to society and for the freedom and progress of women [32]
1999 Christopher Award The Christophers' annual media award, given to Angelou for her directorial debut (Down in the Delta) [33]
1999 Shelia Award Given by the Tubman African American Museum annually to "extraordinary black women of achievement" [34]
2000 National Medal of Arts Awarded by President Bill Clinton; Selected by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts and awarded by the President of the United States to Americans who have contributed to the arts and culture [35]
2002 Lifetime Achievement Award Given as part of the Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards (EMMAs) presented at the annual Hay Festival of Literature & Arts in Wales [36]
2002 Grammy, "Best Spoken Word Album" For the audio book of A Song Flung Up to Heaven, Angelou's sixth autobiography [37]
2003 Museum of Tolerance "Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves" multimedia exhibit Featured with Billy Crystal, Joe Torre, and Carlos Santana [38]
2004 Charles Evans Hughes Award Presented by the National Conference for Community and Justice for civic and humanitarian contributions [39]
2005 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction for Hallelujah! The Welcome Table [40]
2005 Heart's Day Honoree Presented during Howard University English Department's annual celebration and conference [41]
2006 Mother Teresa Award Presented by the St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after being nominated by the public at large [42]
2007 Martha Parker Legacy Award Given by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance studio in Denver; attendees of the ceremony were served dishes from Angelou's cookbook Hallelujah! The Welcome Table [43][44]
2008 Voice of Peace award First recipient of award presented by the Hope for Peace and Justice Center in Dallas; also in honor of Angelou's 80th birthday [45]
2008 Gracie Award Honors accomplishments in the media; for Angelou's radio show on XM Radio [46]
2008 Marian Anderson Award Honors "artists whose leadership benefits humanity" [47][48]
2008 Lincoln Medal Presented by Ford's Theatre to those who exemplify the legacy and character embodied by President Abraham Lincoln [49]
2009 Literary Award Given by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, recognizing excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction written by African Americans [50]
2009 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction for Letter to My Daughter [40]
2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom The highest American civilian honor; awarded by President Barack Obama [51]
2012 Black Cultural Society Award Given by Elon University in North Carolina, for humanitarian contributions for the promotion of world cultures [52]
2013 Literarian Award Given by the National Book Foundation [53]
2013 Norman Mailer Prize (Lifetime Achievement) Given by the Norman Mailer Center and The Norman Mailer Writers Colony to celebrate writers and their works [54]
2014 Conference of Minority Transportation Officials Lifetime Achievement award Given to celebrate the contributions of women leaders who work in transportation, and to recognize Angelou for being the first Black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco. [55]
2015 Stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service The stamp features a quote, "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song", which was often cited by Angleou during interviews, but was written by Joan Walsh Anglund in 1967. President Obama wrongly attributed the sentence to Angelou during the presentation of the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal. [56]
2017 Residence hall named in Angelou's honor at Wake Forest University. The first building at Wake Forest named for an African-American and the second named for a female faculty member. [57]
2018 Google Doodle In honor of what would have been Angelou's 90th birthday (April 4) [58]
2019 Butler Banner project Angelou was included in the list of names of women writers on a banner placed above the names of male writers etched at the top of Butler Library at Columbia University. [59]
2022 American Women quarters Will be one of the first two prominent American women honored in the coin series [60][61]

Honorary degrees[edit]

An elderly African-American woman, seated, smiling broadly, and dressed in black, being given an award by an African-American man in his fifties, wearing a blue tie and leaning over from behind her.
President Barack Obama presenting Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2011


  1. ^ "Maya Angelou - Artist -". Grammy Awards. Recording Academy. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  2. ^ Craver, Richard (16 May 2012). "Forsyth center for women's health named after Angelou". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  3. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (17 May 1992). "Whose Honor Is It, Anyway". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Past Fellows A–Z". The Chubb Fellowship at Timothy Dwight College. Yale University. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  5. ^ Smith, Henrietta M., ed. (2009). "Honor: Angelou, Maya". The Coretta Scott King Awards: 1970–2009 (4th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: American Library Association. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8389-3584-2.
  6. ^ Lupton, p. 17
  7. ^ a b c d Lupton, p. 25
  8. ^ "The Mix: Residents" (PDF). Rockefeller Foundation. p. 258. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  9. ^ Woolley, John T.; Peters, Gerhard (28 March 1977). "National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year, 1975 Appointment of Members and Presiding Officer of the Commission". Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  10. ^ a b Lupton, p. 26
  11. ^ "Matrix Awards Hall of Fame". New York: New York Women in Communications, Inc. Archived from the original on 26 November 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  12. ^ Stearns, Catherine L. (28 February 2001). "U.S. Department of State Recognizes Contributions of African-American Fulbright Program Alumni". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  13. ^ North Carolina awards [1987]. North Carolina Awards Commission. 1987. p. 10. ISBN 9780679748380. OCLC 08187216. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Maya Angelou: Poet and Historian". Academy of Achievement. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  15. ^ Anderson, Susan Heller (17 July 1977). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  16. ^ Knight, Gladys L (2011). "Angelou, Maya (1928– ), Poet, Writer". In Smith, Jessie Carney. (ed.). Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Publishers. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-313-35797-8.
  17. ^ Brozan, Nadine (7 October 2007). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  18. ^ a b Groner, Rachael (2004). "Maya Angelou (1928–)". In Cullum, Linda E. (ed.). Contemporary American Ethnic Poets: Lives, Works, Sources. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 0-313-32484-0.
  19. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients". Women in Film. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Maya Angelou". St. Louis Walk of Fame. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  21. ^ Resnick, Brian (28 May 2014). "What Maya Angelou's Reading at Bill Clinton's Inauguration in 1993 Meant to Her". The Atlantic. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Arkansas' First Black Hall of Fame Names Six Renowned Achievers as First Inductees". Jet Magazine: 22. 4 January 1994.
  23. ^ Gillespie et al., p. 142
  24. ^ Steve, Harvey (7 July 1994). "Only in L.A." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  25. ^ Shestack, Marciarose (3 August 1994). "A Poet Rises Above The Occasion". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  26. ^ Jaquin, Eileen O. (2002). "Maya Angelou (1928–)". In Nelson, Emmanuel S. (ed.). African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 0-313-31409-8.
  27. ^ "Spoken-Word Audio Grammys Given". Publishers Weekly. 243 (14): 18. 1 April 1994.
  28. ^ Louie, Elaine (29 October 1996). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  29. ^ "1997 Homecoming Award Winner: Maya Angelou". Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  30. ^ Gray, Timothy M. (3 March 1998). "NAACP Image nods to 'Soul Food,' 'Touched'". Variety. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  31. ^ Hairston, Jr., Otis L. (2007). Picturing Greensboro: Four Decades of African American Community. Charleston, North Carolina: The History Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-59629-284-0.
  32. ^ "Women's hall to enshrine Albright and Angelou". Deseret News. 19 December 1998. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  33. ^ McBride, Murdoch (24 February 2000). "Mamet and Mann Honored With Christopher Awards". Playbill. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  34. ^ "The Shelia Awards". Tubman African American Museum. Archived from the original on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  35. ^ "Sculptor, painter among National Medal of Arts winners". CNN. 20 December 2000. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  36. ^ "Hay closes chapter for Angelou". BBC News. 5 June 2002. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  37. ^ "The Winners". The Vindicator. 24 February 2003. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  38. ^ Dutka, Elaine (7 February 2003). "Four people you know, the histories you don't". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  39. ^ "Dr. Maya Angelou and John E. Pepper receive NCCJ'S highest award!" (PDF). NCCJ News. National Conference for Community and Justice. 8: 1. September 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-10-14. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  40. ^ a b "Book awards: NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work". Library Thing. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  41. ^ "Maya Angelou is Honored by the Department of English on Heart's Day". College of Arts and Sciences Newsletter. Howard University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  42. ^ "2006 Mother Teresa Awards" (PDF). St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 2 (1): 2. 16 March 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  43. ^ Davidson, Joanne. (2007-10-16). "Maya Angelou on tape, Sinbad in the flesh". Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-10-22
  44. ^ Davidson, Joanne (16 October 2007). "Maya Angelou on tape, Sinbad in the flesh". Denver Post. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  45. ^ "Local Briefs". Dallas Voice. 14 February 2008. Archived from the original on 8 November 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  46. ^ "Gracies graced with many TVNewsers". 29 May 2008. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  47. ^ "Angelou, Lear named for 2008 Marian Anderson Award". USA Today. Associated Press. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  48. ^ "Gracies graced with many TVNewsers". 25 May 2008. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  49. ^ "Lincoln Medal". Ford's Theatre. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  50. ^ "Past BCALA Literary Award Winners" (PDF). Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  51. ^ Mianecki, Julie (15 February 2011). "Obama awards Medal of Freedom to George H.W. Bush, Maya Angelou and 13 others". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  52. ^ Townsend, Eric (5 October 2012). "'Renaissance woman' Maya Angelou dazzles at Fall Convocation". E-Net News. Elon, North Carolina: Elon University. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  53. ^ "Dr. Maya Angelou". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  54. ^ Italie, Hillel (17 October 2013). "Maya Angelou accepts Mailer Center lifetime award". San Diego Union Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  55. ^ Brown, DeNeen L. (2014-03-12). "Maya Angelou honored for her first job as a street car conductor in San Francisco". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  56. ^ McSpadden, Kevin (9 April 2015). "Maya Angelou Stamp With a Quote From Another Poet Won't be Reissued". Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  57. ^ Daniel, Fran (16 February 2017). "WFU dedicates residence hall that honors poet and author Maya Angelou". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  58. ^ Palmer, Ewan (4 April 2018). "Who Was Dr. Maya Angelou? Google Doodle Celebrates 90th Birthday of Poet and Activist". Newsweek. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  59. ^ Greene, Leonard (2 October 2019). "New chapter for women authors: Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison join the ranks of Plato and Demosthenes at Columbia University library". New York Daily News. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  60. ^ "American Women Quarters™ Program". United States Mint. 2 August 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  61. ^ "U.S. Mint to issue quarters honoring notable American women". NBC News. Associated Press. 17 June 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  62. ^ a b Lupton, p. 16
  63. ^ "Honorary degrees". Appleton, Wisconsin: Lawrence University. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  64. ^ Gillespie et al., p. 126
  65. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients". Chicago, Illinois: Columbia College. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  66. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients: Wheaton College" (PDF). Norton, Massachusetts: Wheaton College. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  67. ^ "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Boston College" (PDF). Boston College. p. 104. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  68. ^ Zaragoza, Luis (27 March 2007). "I feel myself always connected to Rollins". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  69. ^ "Recipients of Honorary Degrees and Other University Honors (by Alphabetical Order)". Washington, D.C.: Howard University: Office of the Secretary. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  70. ^ "Honorary Degrees". Medford, Massachusetts: Tufts University: Office of the Trustees. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  71. ^ "Commencements; Mount Holyoke". The New York Times. 27 May 1987. pp. 1–22. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  72. ^ Caskey, Melissa (8 September 2011). "Poet Maya Angelou shares her prose and inspiration". Daily Trojan. University of Southern California. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  73. ^ "Commencement Speakers & Honorary Degrees". Archives and Special Collections. Boston, Massachusetts: Northeastern University. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  74. ^ "Honorary Degree Nominations Due by Friday, November 1, 2019". Office of the Provost. Greensboro, North Carolina: UNC Greensboro. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  75. ^ "Lafayette College Honorary Degree Recipients 1995–2011". Easton, Pennsylvania: Lafayette College. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  76. ^ "Maya Angelou Honorary Degree". Holland, Michigan: Hope College PR. 3 April 2001. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  77. ^ Green, Kesha (26 April 2002). "Commencement May 12 to Feature Maya Angelou". University of Illinois News Bureau. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Archived from the original on 23 July 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  78. ^ Hosten, Allissa (28 July 2003). "Commencement Keynotes: Celebrities Offer Words of Pomp and Circumstance to the Class of 2003". Jet. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  79. ^ Platt, Mary; Bonker, Dawn (28 May 2014). "We Are the Miraculous": Chapman University remembers Dr. Maya Angelou". Orange, California: Chapman College. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  80. ^ "Angelou awarded honorary doctorate degree". Winchester, Virginia. UPI. 26 September 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  81. ^ Sears, Jan (24 March 2011). "Redlands: Maya Angelou awarded honorary doctorate". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2020.

Works cited[edit]

  • Gillespie, Marcia Ann, Rosa Johnson Butler, and Richard A. Long. (2008). Maya Angelou: A Glorious Celebration. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-385-51108-7
  • Lupton, Mary Jane (1998). Maya Angelou: A Critical Companion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-30325-8

External links[edit]