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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, March 12, 2015, Page A8, Image 8

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Maya Angelou stamp can be ordered for delivery in April SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service has announced that the First Day-of-Issue stamp dedica tion ceremony for the Dr. Maya Angelou Forever Stamp will take place at 11 a.m.. Tuesday. April 7, at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. The stamps may be pre-ordered now for delivery shortly after April 7. Use this link: http://uspsstamps.com/sta mps/maya-angelou As an author, poet, actress, and champion of civil rights, Angelou (1928?2014) was one of the most dynamic voices in 20th-century American lit erature. The book, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," an autobiographi cal account of her child hood. gained wide acclaim for its vivid depiction of African-American life in the South. The stamp showcases Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin's 2013 48" x 48" oil-on-canvas portrait of Angelou. The large hyper realistic painting is part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's collec tion, where it will be on display through Nov. 1. The stamp features this quotation by the pioneering author: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." The stamp pane includes a short excerpt from Angelou's book, "Letter to My Daughter." It reads: 'Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, designed the stamp. Customers are encouraged to use social media to spread the news about the stamp using #MayaForever. "I always wanted to paint Maya as she was a voice that inspired millions ? not just as an individual, but as a legendary poet and a civil rights icon who tran scended generations," Rossin added. "1 was com pelled by the challenge to portray her forgiving smile and her aura of uncondi tional love and understand ing that comes across when having a conversation with her." Rossin is a good friend of former Ambassador Andrew Young, having forged a close personal relationship with the artist since rendering a portrait of Young several years ago, which also hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Knowing that Angelou's birthday was coming up, he felt the urge to introduce Rossin to her in 2013. "I applaud the U.S. Postal Service for their decision to honor my beloved friend Maya with a Forever stamp, and for using Rossin's portrait of her for this perennial image," said Young. "He is a master portrait artist ? a prodigy. It is an honor to be immortalized by his brush stroke." "During my visit to her Winston-Salem, N.C., home 1 spoke with Maya for several hours about her life journey and courage of finding the light in the midst of her darkness. It is her energy, the God Particle, which struck me. Later that evening, Oprah Winfrey hosted a birthday party for Angelou. This was the critical moment when I saw Maya through the eyes of others. My per sonal experience around Maya's aura led to the cre ation of an intimate yet uni versal painting, which later Maya enthusiastically approved." Rossin said. "This is exactly how I see myself and exactly how I wish to be remembered," Rossin recalled of Angelou's reaction to his work. "I wanted to capture her laughter, her cry and the forgiveness and bless ings that came from her face," he added. "It is not only her portrait that is big ger than life. It is she her self who is bigger than life. The portrait is evidence of her magic." Submitted pboto The Maya Angelou stamp image is the work of artist Ross Rossin. MAYA ANGELOU "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." A Cubans hopeful U.S. embargo will end, pastor finds BY TODD LUCK THE CHRONICLE Rev. Lamont Williams was among black pastors that visited Cuba earlier this year, after President Barack Obama called for an end to the U.S. embargo on the communist nation. Williams, pastor of Diggs Memorial Church, went on a trip to the Cuban capital of Havana with pas tors from around the nation. It was sponsored by the Progressive National Baptist Convention, whose general secretary. Rev. Dr. Tyrone Pitts, helped organ ize and participated in the trip. The trip, which lasted from Jan. 30-Feb. 9, was part of the 25th anniversary celebration of a Cuban Baptist church organiza tion, La Fraternidad de Iglesias Bautistas de Cuba. During that time, the pas tors worshipped, preached and took communion with Cuban congregations. Williams said those he talked to were cautious, but optimistic about the end to the five-decade- old embargo on trade and trav el to the island country that's only 90 miles south of Florida. "Many of them said 'Yes, it's wonderful,' but they still want to maintain their identity," he said. Rev. Dr. John Mendez. pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, helped organize the trip. He also planned to go, but was unable to, because he was helping with protests over new developments in an Apache land dispute in Arizona. Mendez is no stranger to Cuba, having visited the country several times, including in a large delegation that came with the Rev. Jesse Jackson in the 1980s. He said he wel comed the end of what he called "fifty years of this nonsense that hasn't pro duced anything." "As Americans, we have to learn how to get along with other people, other countries in the world," he said. "Everybody's not our enemy and Cuba is a small, tiny country that has a right to choose their own social/economic system and to organize their des tiny as they see it without our interference." Since Obama's Dec. 17 announcement on normal izing relations with Cuba, 12 categories of travel are now allowed for Americans going there, including fam ily visits, religious purpos es and cultural exchanges. Tourism restrictions have yet to be listed. Talks are underway on renewing diplomatic relations. Cuba's status on the state sponsors of terrorism list is being reviewed. Lifting of trade sanctions will have to approved by Congress, where opponents say that restrictions should not be lifted without concessions of free elections , greater freedoms and the release of all political prisoners by the Cuban government. Obama and other support ers have said free trade will encourage Cuba to become more democratic. Many have made high profile visits to Cuba in the last couple months, includ ing members of the U.S. Congress and Conan O'Brien, who filmed his show there. Williams said he believes his was the first African-American delega tion to visit since Obama's announcement. He said he saw a lot of Cuban Americans visiting their families there. On the streets of Havana he saw busses labeled "US-Cuba Freindshipment" with the words "End the embargo against Cuba!" on them. These buses have been used by the U.S.-based Pastors for Peace to defy the embargo with annual aid shipments to Cuba since 1992. Williams said the Cuban people have close knit communities that rely on each other for things like large urban gardens that are planted by and ben efit the whole community. He heard from one Cuban that it was odd that some Americans don't know their neighbors. In Cuba, he was told, neighbors help each other survive. Williams sang during the Cuban church services. He said that, despite the language barrier, he was well received with requests to come back and do a con cert, and inquiries if he had any CDs of his vocals. "This lady comes to me after the service, she says 'Listen, I couldn't figure out all the words you were saying, but I was moved by the spirit in which you sung it,'" he said. They also visited the Centro Memorial Martin Luther King Jr. in Havana, which was founded to pro vide training and education in King's philosophy of nonviolence. A bus in Havana, Cuba used in the annual Friendshipment aid runs done by Pastors for Peace in protest of the embargo. NORTH CAROLINA'S Pre-College Program NC-MSEN 77m Center for Mathematics, Science and Tachnohgy Education (CMSTE) NC Mathematics and Science Education Network (NC-MSEN) 2015 Summer Scholars Pre-Colleae Program Voted 2nd in the 2014 Winston-Salem Journal Newspaper Readers Choice Awards for Best Summer Camp For Middle and High School Students (grades 6-12) who are Interested in pursuing careers In science, mathematics, technology, engineering, and teaching. ? Promoting Excellence In Mathematics and Science Education ? Academic Instruction & Activities in Mathematics & Science ? Field Trip: Atlanta, GA - Atlanta University Consortium Center (dark Atlanta, Spellman & Morehouse); MU( National Historic Park; Georgia Aquarium; World of Coke; CNN Center/Olympic Park; Six Flags Over Georgia 2Q1S Sum mar Program Date*: June 15 -26,2015; 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m. Residential A Non-Residential options available DeacMne for enrodment: Aeririwttia/-May 8,2015; Payment Options are available For further information about the program and online enrollment please refer to the website: www.wssu.edu/ncmsen and select Summer Scholars or call 338-750-2995.

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