ASU Professor Remembers Maya Angelou


By Ellis Eskew

Dr. Tonea Stewart says she had thought the day she heard of Maya Angelou's death  would be hard.

She tells us about a time she met Angelou while she was a faculty member at Jackson State in Jackson, Mississippi, and she entertained the literary legend at her home.

"Met at my house and brought her there. We were sitting around the kitchen table and she started to tell us stories of her life. She said, 'what are we gonna eat??' I said, 'I made some greens,' and she said 'girl, let me make the cornbread!!'"said Stewart.

Stewart says she and a few other faculty members sat and talked with Angelou, and she still remembers the lessons she taught them.

"Maya started telling us what it meant to be sisters. She talked to us about what it meant to respect each other. She said, 'sister, I like it when you act.' I said, 'I love it when you write.' Dr. Alexander said, 'I love it when you read it!'  We were just going on and on and she said see we didn't even plan that and look what happened. This is sisterhood!" said Stewart.

Stewart says she kept in touch with Angelou over the years and would call her on holidays to check in with her.
While she thought this day would be hard... In light of Angelou's life...she says it's actually the opposite.

"If you really knew her you would know that she would want you to know her legacy and move forward with it.... Maya Angelou's life should never be forgotten and will never be forgotten in America," said Stewart.


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