Lawmakers want to award Maya Angelou with Congressional Gold Medal

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) has introduced a measure that would posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Maya Angelou.

Angelou passed away on May 28 at the age of 86. The bill would present Angelou with Congress's highest civilian honor for her contributions to civil rights and American literature, including the impact of her 1969 autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

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"Maya Angelou was a larger-than-life hero who inspired our nation," Horsford said in a statement. "She was an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, and a champion for women, African-Americans, and all those struggling to find their voice."

Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Luke Messer (R-Ind.) and Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) have endorsed the measure.

"Maya Angelou’s life and legacy has left an indelible mark on American history and culture,” Messer said.  “It is fitting that a true renaissance woman — who used her many talents to be a voice for equality, tolerance and love - be awarded the highest civilian honor."

The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest U.S. civilian awards for outstanding achievements.

Angelou received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, the Lincoln Medal in 2008 and the National Medal of Arts in 2000.