The Year of Maya Angelou, a yearlong book club featuring the works of the late author, kicked off Wednesday evening at the Henry Madden Library in the Table Mountain Rancheria Reading Room.
The event was a joint collaboration between the Office of the President and the Women’s Resource Center as part of Women’s Herstory Month, which highlighted the contributions of women to historical events and contemporary society.
“We really hope to expose people to Dr. Angelou’s work and also to bring women on campus together to get to know each other,” said Jessica Adams, a coordinator at the Women’s Resource Center.
Angelou was a poet and award-winning author known for her acclaimed memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and her numerous other poetry and essay collections.
“Dr. Angelou is a brilliant writer and poet,” she said. “We really feel that with her recent passing that we could do something special to honor her and really bring attention to the work that she has done.”
The event to kick off the book club also featured the “Women at Fresno State” photo exhibit, featuring photos taken by Fresno State photographer Cary Edmondson. The photos, displayed in the Reading Room, documented women participating in events ranging from athletics to graduation at Fresno State.
“His [Cary Edmondson’s] talented eye has captured women working together for a common goal — supporting each other during times of grief and joyously sharing their experiences on our campus,” said Mary Castro, wife of Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro, during her opening speech.
Performances from the event included recitations of poems from Angelou such as “Still I Rise,” “No Loser, No Weeper” and “Phenomenal Woman”, as well as a singing performance.
Junior social work major Nina Saechao said that her favorite part of the event was the singing and poem recitation.
“It really makes me interested to know more about Dr. Maya Angelou, and I am thinking of joining the book club,” Saechao said.
The book club will have its first official meeting on the third Monday of April, featuring books from Dr. Maya Angelou such as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “Gather Together in My Name,” “Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas” and many more. The time and location of the meeting will be announced soon.