Furious Flower Poetry Center Ensures Voices Like Angelou’s Continue to Be Heard - Higher Education: Serenaded by a single voice, two elderly women sat in wheelchairs on stage before a crowd at Virginia Tech University. As Lisa Winn sang “Still I Rise,” one of the women, Maya Angelou, reached out to catch hold of the hand of her companion, Toni Morrison.
The moment represented the culmination of many tumultuous years, not just for Angelou and Morrison, but the African-American community at large. The pair was being honored with the Furious Flower Poetry Center Lifetime Achievement Award at Virginia Tech on Oct. 16, 2012.
Thinking back on that moment, Dr. Joanne Gabbin of James Madison University, founder and director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center, says she is grateful that she had the “wisdom and foresight” to honor Angelou before her passing last month.