In honor of Juneteenth this week - the day that news of the Emancipation Proclamation was delivered to Texas in 1865, two and a half years after the actual proclamation (for more on this event, see Juneteenth.com) - I won't be reading to you. It's important that you hear from someone else here - the inestimable Maya Angelou.
I was lucky enough to see her speak at my University in 1984. She filled the room. Yes, every seat was taken, but she filled that room. Her presence. Her oratory. The way she put all of herself into every poem she read. If you can watch this and not react with strong emotion, you have no heart.
The Mask was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Maya Angelou's spoken word performance brings it to life:
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.