News

Maya Angelou dies at the age of 86

main-maya-angelou_t479Maya Angelou, who is known not only for her award winning poetry and writing, but also an actress on the big and small screen, has died at the age of 86 in her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, according to her literary agent, Helen Brann. 

The cause of death has yet to be released.

Angelou was born in (then segregated) St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4th, 1928 under the name Margorie Annie Johnson.

Maya Angelou is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Maya Angelou is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

The list of achievements Angelou has reached goes on and on including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama and the Presidential Medal of Arts from former President Clinton, won 3 Grammy Awards while also being nominated for a Tony Award and having multiple best selling writings including, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
“I created myself,” Angelou once said. “I have taught myself so much.”
However, life has not always been so rewarding for Angelou, at the age of 7 she was raped by mother’s boyfriend and once she spoke out on it in court to testify against the man, a mob found and beat the man to death. This put Angelou into a setting of silence.
“My 7 and a half year old logic deduced that my voice had killed him, so I stopped speaking for almost six years,” she once said.
Malcolm X is photographed with a younger Maya Angelou above.

Malcolm X is photographed with a younger Maya Angelou above.

However, this wasn’t silence forever, this was simply the beginning to a much more impactful and vocal Maya Angelou. Once she realized her passion of writing, she moved to Egypt and Ghana to become a newspaper editor.

She returned to the U.S. once she met Malcolm X (photographed together left)in Ghana to join him for the Civil Rights Movement in 1964, after he was assassinated, she joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., however he was assassinated also on Angelou’s birthday out of all days in 1968.

Although Angelou never went to college herself, she was a professor at Wake Forest University in Winton-Salem teaching American Studies.

Speaking six languages, no one can say Angelou was not a hard worker. She paved the way for many African Americans, but also many Americans living here today.

From one of her most famous poems “Still I Rise”, Angelou writes, “Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise, Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise. Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.”

She rises for one final time, R.I.P. Maya Angelou.mayaangelou

Watch below to see Maya Angelou recite one of her most famous poems, And Still I Rise,

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