My friendship with Maya will be 40 years old in 2010
Edwardsville, Ill. (Vocus) September 19, 2009
''Eighty Moods of Maya Angelou,'' a photographic exhibit from Lovejoy Library's Eugene B. Redmond Collection at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, will focus on the poet, educator, performer, and best-selling author Maya Angelou. The exhibit will open at the library Monday, Sept. 21, and will run through the end of October.
The exhibit is a testament to the rich and enduring friendship between Ms. Angelou and Redmond, professor emeritus of English language and literature at SIUE, said Howard Rambsy II, an assistant professor of English language and literature and curator of the exhibit.
The photographs showcase Dr. Angelou socializing with fellow artists, performing poetry, celebrating achievements with friends and family, and entertaining guests at her home in North Carolina. The vibrant versatility of facial expressions, body language and hand motions that Dr. Angelou assumes in the photographs confirms Dr. Redmond's notion about the 80-plus ''moods of Maya.''
Redmond, who was in the vanguard of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, said he has had an enduring friendship with the author-poet. "My friendship with Maya will be 40 years old in 2010," he said. "Maya always called me one of her special brothers. So, I'm excited because we have known each other four decades, and now we will share this ritualed ground together again."
Maya Angelou was born April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, spending part of her childhood there before moving to Stamps, Ark., where she endured the effects of racial discrimination but began developing a deep awareness of the value and values of black folk culture as well as African American artistic thought.
Over the years, Ms. Angelou increased her interest in the arts, taking up dance, acting, singing, and creative writing. In 1970, her bestselling autobiography, ''I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,'' was published; since then she has authored dozens of other celebrated books.
"Lovejoy Library's Eugene B. Redmond Collection is one of the greatest post-civil rights collections of African American culture ever assembled," Rambsy said. ''It contains hundreds of books, magazines, rare program booklets and flyers, audio recordings and historic posters.'' The collection also contains more than 150,000 photographs of literary artists, musicians, entertainers, supporters of the arts and political activists, which Dr. Redmond himself has taken over the past four decades.
Speaking about the collection, Redmond points out that SIUE is a fitting place for his work to reside because the University has always been his home, first as a student and then many years later as a faculty member. "While I had offers from other places across the country, I felt SIUE should be the place where my papers and, as the Chancellor says, the place where my legacy should rest. I'm excited my collection is here at SIUE because I'm homegrown, a homegrown kind of guy."
Author, literary historian, and arts organizer, Eugene B. Redmond was named poet laureate of East St. Louis in 1976, the same year that Doubleday published his critical history, ''Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry.'' He also is founder of the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club in East St. Louis.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a nationally recognized public university offering a broad choice of degrees and programs ranging from career-oriented fields of study to the essential, more traditional, liberal arts. At SIUE we offer 44 baccalaureate degrees, 13 post-baccalaureate certificates, 47 master's degrees, 11 post- master's certificates, two first-professional degrees, and one post-first professional certificate. Known for an emphasis in health science education, SIUE offers a nursing school, pharmacy school and dental school. Additionally undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates are available in engineering programs, business programs, elementary education programs and secondary education programs.
SIUE offers the advantages of a small, liberal arts college with the low tuition rates of a state university. Our emphasis on undergraduate education, complemented by faculty research, creates practical applications for student learning. Located in the second most populated area of the state, this Illinois university draws students from all 102 Illinois counties, 42 states and 50 nations.
One of 12 Illinois colleges and universities, SIUE is located on 2,600 acres of rolling hills and woodlands in Edwardsville, just 25 miles from St. Louis, a major metropolitan area. Proximity to the St. Louis area enhances SIUE's energy and vitality. The campus is easily accessed from several major interstates, while the city of Edwardsville offers ample opportunity for jobs, entertainment, shopping and fun.