Maya Angelou part of upcoming TTU Women’s History Month events

Posted by Lori Shull - Thursday, March 08 2012


thumb Dr._AngelouCivil rights activist, poet, dramatist and educator Maya Angelou will come to Tennessee Tech University on March 20 as part of the university’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

The TTU Women’s Center will also hold a talk by author and journalist Andrea Moore-Emmett, who has won several awards for her writings about polygamy.

Angelou’s presentation, co-sponsored by the TTU Commission on the Status of Women and Center Stage, will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, in Derryberry Auditorium.

Moore-Emmett’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, also in Derryberry Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public, but tickets to the Angelou event will be limited.

“Because she’s African-American and a woman, Maya Angelou could be called the matron saint of the 60s because her poetry articulates civil rights and women’s rights,” said TTU English instructor Andrew Smith, who is teaching her works in his American literature class. “Some of her poetry is hard for students to read because it it’s hard for this generation to understand the anger she expresses in some of her work.”

“It’s hard for us to imagine a Jim Crow world, but it wasn't that long ago,” he said.

An emphasis on women’s history began as a weeklong event in 1981, but expanded to become Women’s History Month in 1987. This year’s theme is “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment.”

One of today’s most influential voices, Angelou’s best-known work is a memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” published in 1970. Since then, she has written more than 30 bestselling titles, including works of verse, fiction and non-fiction. She is a producer, actress, filmmaker, historian, civil rights activist, dramatist and educator.

“She’s someone who has lived a lot and has had some very difficult moments in her life. She hasn't lived the same life as people here,” said Colleen Hays, TTU French professor and chair of the TTU Commission on the Status of Women. “Since the 70s, she has been an inspiring voice in women’s and African-American poetry.”

thumb authorphoto-sent_by_authorMoore-Emmett has spent nearly 20 years researching polygamy in Mormonism and fundamentalist Christian sects. In 2004, she published God’s Brothel: The Extortion of Sex for Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the Stories of 18 Women who Escaped. She also served as the researcher for the A&E documentary, Inside Polygamy.

Tickets are not required for Moore-Emmett’s appearance.

Because the Angelou event is sponsored by Center Stage, TTU students will have priority for tickets. Students can pick up one ticket each with a valid Eagle Card Monday, March 12, until Thursday, March 15, at the Women’s Center in Pennebaker 203. Faculty and staff may pick up one ticket each on Friday, March 16, also at the Women’s Center.

If there are any remaining tickets, they will be available to the public on Monday, March 19, in Henderson Hall 204C. Tickets are required for admission to the event.