The famed poet and author Maya Angelou was found dead today in her Winston-Salem, NC home. Via Fox News:
Award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou was found dead in her Winston-Salem, N.C., home Wednesday morning. She was 86.
Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Jones confirmed Angelou’s death to Fox News. Police reportedly were at her home investigating. A press conference is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. ET.
Angelou, who rose from poverty as child raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Ark., to become a cultural icon, gained widespread acclaim for her first book, her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” making her one of the first African-American women to write a best-seller.
In 1998, she directed the film “Down in the Delta” about a drug-wrecked woman who returns to the home of her ancestors in the Mississippi Delta. She was the poet chosen to read at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993. She wrote and read an original composition, “On the Pulse of Morning,” which became a million-seller.
Born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis on April 4, 1928, Angelou was raised in Stamps, Ark., and San Francisco, moving back and forth between her parents and grandmother. She was reportedly sent to California after sassing a white store clerk in Arkansas and, at other times, did not speak at all. She was raped by her mother’s boyfriend at age 7 and did not speak for years afterward, instead learning by reading and listening.
“I loved the poetry that was sung in the black church: ‘Go down Moses, way down in Egypt’s land,'” Angelou told The Associated Press. “It just seemed to me the most wonderful way of talking. And ‘Deep River.’ Ooh! Even now it can catch me. And then I started reading, really reading, at about 7 1/2, because a woman in my town took me to the library, a black school library. … And I read every book, even if I didn’t understand it.”
Ms. Angelou has a fascinating history for anyone interested in reading up on both it and her.
I may not have always agreed with her politically but I found her to be dynamic, one of the classiest and most inspiring, dignified, and graceful women of not only her generation but also generations after. May her loved ones and friends find the protection of God’s arms comforting at this difficult time. Rest in peace, ma’am.
– “A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.” – Maya Angelou