The U.S. Postal Service had a star-studded rollout for its new Maya Angelou stamp Tuesday — complete with speeches by Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey — but the stamp itself apparently features an embarrassing mistake.
The stamp includes a quote next to a photo of Angelou, reading: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
That sounds like something Angelou would say — and in fact, has said. It also has a similar ring to the title of her 1969 autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” But The Washington Post reports that the quote was actually from the work of another author, children’s book writer Joan Walsh Anglund. The quote comes from her 1967 book “A Cup of Sun.”
In a statement released after the Postal Service was made aware of the issue, spokesman Mark Saunders said: “Had we known about this issue beforehand, we would have used one of [Angelou’s] many other works … the sentence held great meaning for her, and she is publicly identified with its popularity.”
Angelou has been quoted repeating the phrase, which has frequently been attributed to her.