When Maya Angelou stepped to the podium on a cold January day in 1993, she became the first African American and the first woman to offer an inaugural poem.
And what a poem it was.
“On the Pulse of Morning” garnered immediate praise for its sweeping portrait of American history and wisdom.
Elizabeth Alexander remembers that moment — and contrasts it with her own time on the same stage — on MPR News with Kerri Miller, in the first installment of an occasional series, “They Believed.”
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At this pivotal moment in U.S. history, we want to look back at the words of America’s firebrands, visionaries and truth-tellers. What do they reveal about who we were then – and who we are now?
Elizabeth Alexander is a poet and scholar. She currently leads The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.