Dr. Maya Angelou is said to be battling health problems. According to reports, news that the 86-year-old author and poet recently canceled a scheduled appearance of a special event to be held in her honor.
Angelou was set to receive and be honored with the “Beacon of Life Award” at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon to take place in Houston Texas on May 30. The luncheon is part of the major league baseball’s annual Civil Rights Games in which the Houston Astros will host the Baltimore Orioles at this year’s game.
Executive Vice President of MLB Baseball Development, Frank Robinson made the announcement of Angelou’s need to bow out of the event citing “health reasons.” Robinson went on to praise Dr. Maya Angelou for her unprecedented roster of achievements and called the legendary poet and author a “pioneer” that makes her so deserving of the Beacon of Life Award. In Angelou’s absence, the award will be received on her behalf by ABC news anchor Robin Roberts, who will be at the luncheon serving as the event’s keynote speaker. Other’s receiving awards will be football hero Jim Brown and Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records.
Sending her regrets in not being able to attend, Maya Angelou acknowledged in a statement that the Civil Rights Game is an opportunity for Major League Baseball to lead and encourage its fans in honoring and remembering a critical time in American history. Angelou expressed her pride to be a MLB Beacon Award honoree and among a list of impressive figures like Gordy and Brown who are very much a part of the civil rights movement.
This is not Dr. Angelou’s first canceled appearance due to poor health. In April the author of such famed literary works as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and On The Pulse of Morning was set to make an appearance in Fayetteville Arkansas sponsored by the Fayetteville Public Library. According to reports, Maya Angelou was unable to attend due to health issues that left her hospitalized. Sending her regrets to organizers of the event, Angelou delivered what many in that town are calling the most eloquent cancellation letter ever.
The author was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but was raised in a town not too far from Fayetteville, Arkansas called Stamps. Maya Angelou told event organizers of her longing to come to her home state of Arkansas reflecting that her grandmother taught her many lessons while a young girl there. She further said in Arkansas she learned to trust love and the heart of love and also learned how not to complain. While her illness kept her away from the event, she said she looks forward to the day she can receive another invitation from her beloved state. She closed by asking everyone to keep her in their thoughts, in their conversations and in their prayers.
Recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Dr.Maya Angelou will get to add this latest honor from the MLB to her list of awards. The literary icon has also been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and has received over thirty honorary degrees. For a legacy that means a lot to so many and in light of all of the canceled appearances of late, an outpouring of well wishes are being bestowed on the ailing writer in the hopes that her poor health will reverse itself to a clean bill of health very soon.
By Hal Banfield