Postal Service Dedicates Stamp of Legendary Poet Maya Angelou

The U.S. Postal Service is unveiling a new limited edition forever stamp honoring the renowned poet and author Maya Angelou.

The postal service was hosting a ceremony Tuesday at the Warner Theatre in Washington to dedicate the stamp.

The Angelou stamp showcases the artwork of Atlanta artist Ross Rossin. His oil painting of Angelou is part of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery collection and is being displayed until Nov. 1. Rossin says the goal of his art is to transcend hyper-realism.

But there is some controversy over the quote attributed to Angelou on the stamp. It reads: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.''

A former editor for The Washington Post’s Book World did some research on the quote and found it may have been written by Connecticut author Joan Walsh Anglund first.

The postal service said the quote came up in several different interviews Angelou did.

"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," the postal service said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

"Dr. Angelou was a prolific writer and considered by many to be a wise person with a great deal of life experience," the statement continued. "Had we known about this issue beforehand, we might have used one of her many other works."

The postal service says Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland, designed the stamp based on Rossin's portrait. It includes the quotation: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."

Angelou rose from poverty, segregation and violence to become a force on stage, screen and the printed page. She died last May at her Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home at 86.

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