Maya Angelou's Forever Stamp Features a Quote From Another Person Due to USPS Mistake

by Alex Ungerman 5:19 PM PDT, April 08, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

You had ONE JOB, U.S. Postal Service!

Okay, that's not true. You have another impossibly hard job and basically no money, but still!

The late African-American writing icon Maya Angelou was honored Tuesday with a forever stamp in her likeness featuring the timeless quote "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."

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The problem is that while that's a beautiful quote, and seems like it could have been lifted straight from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, it's not Maya Angelou's quote.

For real! The quote originated in Joan Walsh Anglund's 1967 poem book A Cup of Sun, as Anglund confirmed herself.

According to the Washington Post, a Postal Service spokesperson linked to a 2013 blog post quoting Angelou as saying the phrase.

"Had we known about this issue beforehand, we would have used one of [Angelou’s] many other works," the Postal Service said in a statement. "The sentence held great meaning for her and she is publicly identified with its popularity."

In any case, at the unveiling in Washington, D.C., attended by Oprah and Michelle Obama, among others, no mention was made of where the quote came from. In fact, Oprah has 100 of these stamps now.

Thank you @USPS for celebrating our American Queen. I just bought 100 stamps. #MayaForever

A photo posted by Oprah (@oprah) on

Also, Funny or Die ran with it, and the results are amazing. 

It's alright USPS! That could've happened to anyone.

In all seriousness, Dr. Maya Angelou was a prolific writer and remarkable human being. Watch Oprah tear up while remembering her last conversation with the late-poet below.