‘I Am a Christian’ Poem Not Written by Maya Angelou

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
May 28, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

A poem that’s titled “When I Say I Am a Christian” was not written by Maya Angelou, but a number of people have shared it and mis-attributed it to her.

Part of the poem reads, “When I say … “I am a Christian … I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin’.”

However, the poem was written in 1988 by poet Carol Wimmer and was published in the Assemblies of God periodical Hi-Call Gospel Magazine

“Unfortunately, over the years the work has been reprinted on the Internet with either missing or incorrect attributions (most often being ascribed to ‘author unknown’ or the aforementioned Maya Angelou), and with verses that have been rearranged or altered by others,” says hoax-debunking website Snopes.com.

Angelou died on Tuesday at the age of 86.

AP: Poet, author Maya Angelou dies at 86  

NEW YORK (AP) — Maya Angelou, a modern Renaissance woman who survived the harshest of childhoods to become a force on stage, screen, the printed page and the inaugural dais, died Wednesday, her son said. She was 86.

Angelou’s son, Guy B. Johnson, said the writer died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she had been a professor of American studies at Wake Forest University since 1982.

Tall and regal, with a deep, majestic voice, Angelou defied all probability and category, becoming one of the first black women to enjoy mainstream success as an author and thriving in virtually every artistic medium. The young single mother who worked at strip clubs to earn a living later wrote and recited the most popular presidential inaugural poem in history. The childhood victim of rape wrote a million-selling memoir, befriended Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and performed on stages around the world.

An actress, singer and dancer in the 1950s and 1960s, she broke through as an author in 1970 with “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which became standard (and occasionally censored) reading, and was the first of a multipart autobiography that continued through the decades. In 1993, she was a sensation reading her cautiously hopeful “On the Pulse of the Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. Her confident performance openly delighted Clinton and made the poem a best-seller, if not a critical favorite. For President George W. Bush, she read another poem, “Amazing Peace,” at the 2005 Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the White House.

 

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.