White House

What Maya Angelou’s Reading at Bill Clinton’s Inauguration in 1993 Meant to Her

The celebrated poet died Wednesday at the age of 86.

National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Brian Resnick
May 28, 2014, 6:38 a.m.

On a sunny, Janu­ary day in 1993, Maya An­gelou stepped up to the po­di­um of the West Front of the Cap­it­ol, dir­ectly after Bill Clin­ton had been sworn in and de­livered his first ad­dress as the pres­id­ent of the United States.

She read her poem, “On the Pulse of Morn­ing,” and in it she honored the oc­ca­sion and en­cap­su­lated the en­tirety of Amer­ica’s his­tory — from the time of the di­no­saurs to the struggles of Nat­ive Amer­ic­ans and Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans. The mes­sage of her poem was that the United States was a place where all these dis­par­ate ele­ments of his­tory can come to­geth­er.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.