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Maya Angelou: A Symbol of Inspiration

As the nation's first African American woman to be featured on a U.S. quarter, Maya Angelou unifies and inspires the world.

Maya was my inspiration long before the announcement about the circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history.

It was my honor to have the pleasure to meet and greet Maya Angelou in the NBC News green room. Spending the morning with her was an unforgettable time for me as a new journalism student.

It's not even about what a person says to you in the moments you have with them. It's about how they make you feel when you are with them. It's in the non-verbal communication that makes them influential in your life.

My job at NBC Today Show allowed the opportunity for private conversations with each guest who came in to be on the show and let's just say that Maya Angelou was a guest that truly won my heart. Maya Angelou understood the importance of adding value to people and being present in the moment. That morning with her in that green room was filled with inspiration. The thought of what the U.S. quarter with her image will do for countless people worldwide is absolutely priceless.

At a time when we all need to be reminded about the power of unity, Maya Angelou, the poet and trailblazer, on the U.S. quarter with the words E Pluribus Unum which is a motto that means "out of many, one" in Latin. It is a reference to the Thirteen Colonies united into one nation. The image of Maya Angelou's arms stretched wide open in front of the eagle's breast showcase her priceless legacy of love and inspiration to the world.


LaNissir James Blog

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