The Battalion

GUEST COLUMN: Honor Gordone's legacy

By Maya Angelou

Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have been made aware that there has been an effort on campus to recognize Charles Gordone and his contributions to Texas A&M.


I knew Charles for more than fifty years, until he was lost in 1995, and I have admired him since we first met.  I respected and reveled in his contribution as an actor in John Genet's play "The Blacks." Mr. Gordone was a member of the cast, which included Godfrey Cambridge, Roscoe Lee Brown, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, and myself. It was during this play that the seeds for "No Place To Be Somebody," for which he won Pulitzer Prize for Drama, were sewn.


Charles' play ran on Broadway and Off Broadway, and whenever his name was attached to a project, I was a member of a large group who rushed to support him.


He brought a treasure trove of talents to Texas A&M in a particularly turbulent and uncertain time in A&M's history.  He spent the last years of his life there enriching the lives of students.


Charles was a man of infinite talents and opportunities. That he chose A&M to spend his final years is a testament to his confidence and faith in your university.


The construction of a new liberal arts building at your university seems a perfect opportunity to provide a space to honor his memory on campus.  In this way Charles can continue to break down barriers and open hearts and minds for generations to come.


Maya Angelou is an American author, poet and actress whose recognitions include the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.


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