Beginning as early as 2001, according to my research, perhaps even before, this quote by writer/illustrator Joan Walsh Anglund began to be falsely attributed to Maya Angelou:
A bird doesn’t sing because he has an answer–he sings because he has a song.
Barack Obama himself famously and falsely attributed Ms. Anglund’s words to Maya Angelou.
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
The above quote was posted on Maya Angelou’s facebook page without attribution on November 23, 2013. That same year, she was interviewed and she repeated the quote, without attribution, as if those were her own words. An op-ed in the New York Times was too cute by half to claim that this was not a case of plagiarism:
… it doesn’t seem that Ms. Angelou, who died last year, claimed the words as her own.
“It doesn’t seem?” Well, I beg to differ. Things are not always as some would wish them to seem to be.