When did you first realize that you were an American? What is it that warms your heart about being an American? With these questions and more, Dr. Angelou explores her identity as an American citizen and invites callers and listeners to do the same.
For Dr. Angelou, the realization that she was an American came with the announcement of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death in 1945, while she was a student at George Washington High School in San Francisco. When her teacher told her class the news, Dr. Angelou says she pondered the meaning of being an American from that moment on. "I thought about my country…what's going to happen now that our president [has died]?" she says. "I hadn't thought about him being my president before then."
Commenting on the qualities that make her most proud to be an American, Dr. Angelou says the generous nature of Americans ranks highest on her list. "My delight, of course, is the generosity in the American spirit," she says. "I'm just overwhelmed by it and made so happy and so proud that there are more charities and charitable organizations in this country than there are in all the rest of the world—amazing!"