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America's Venerable Maya Angelou Has Died at Age 86

Maya Angelou Dead at 86 - ABC News

Maya Angelou has died, ABC News has confirmed. She was 86.

According to her agent, Helen Brann, the noted author and poet died near her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina early this morning.

"She'd been very frail and had heart problems, but she was going strong, finishing a new book," Brann told ABC News. "I spoke to her yesterday. She was fine, as she always was. Her spirit was indomitable."


Maya Angelou (/ˈm.ə ˈænəl/;[1][2] born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014[3]) was an American author and poet. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, cast-member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs.

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March 2013 interview

Love liberates

In her last post via Twitter, Angelou offered one parting bit of advice: “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

That's beautiful.

I'm not big on poetry, but I liked her, she was a good person, and wise, it felt like she was America's Grandmother.  I'm going to make an attempt to read one of her books ;)

I love success stories like hers, where you see this HUGE arc of achievement from the starkest of beginnings.

"Born Marguerite Annie Johnson, the future writer grew up amid poverty and racism after a divorce relocated the child to small town Stamps, Ark., where she lived with her brother and grandmom.

Despite the hard times, Angelou long maintained that living in the Deep South also imbued her with the faith and values of the African-American family and culture.

As she wrote in her memoir, Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was just seven years old. Her uncles then murdered the man in retribution.

The small girl, convinced she was to blame for the killing, stopped speaking for five years.

During that time, she became a voracious reader of writers from William Shakespeare to Edgar Allan Poe to W.E.B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes.

The precocious talent began writing her earliest poems at age 9, and graduated at the top of her eighth-grade class.

Angelou wrote about the women who convinced her to speak again in the 1986 children’s book “Mrs. Flowers: A Moment of Friendship.”

Her early adulthood was tumultuous: A single mother at 17, work in a strip club, as a waitress and a cook; running a brothel; marriage and divorce.

She was also San Francisco’s first African-American female cable-car conductor."

Her poetry was probably cathartic for her.

I did not realize she had a San Francisco connection! She truly was of America.

Wow even more about her, what a survivor, the majority with that start, would have wallowed in all that was wrong with their start in life.

This is the one I think I'd like to read.  Her mom sounded like she was probably the person who made the most impression on Maya's life, she was quite the character.

Mom & Me & Mom: Maya Angelou: 9781400066117: Books

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