‘Still She Rises’ – Poet, Author, Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou Leaves a Legacy of Strength, Courage, and Perseverance
World-renowned poet, award-winning author, and civil rights activist, Dr. Maya Angelou passed from this life on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. She was reportedly found by her caretaker at her home in Winston-Salem, NC. She was 86 years old.
Angelou had reportedly been battling health problems of late. She was set to be honored with the “Beacon of Life Award” at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon on May 30 in Houston, but had to decline attending.
Over a span of five decades, she wrote seven autobiographies, three essay books, and many other books of poetry, including plays and movies. She is perhaps best known for her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), which was the first non-fiction best-seller by an African-American woman. Her poem “On the Pulse of Morning”, which she recited at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, was also published, sold over 1 million copies, and won a Grammy for its recording.
She also penned the screenplay and score for the 1972 film, Georgia, Georgia.
She received numerous awards including a Pulitzer Prize nomination, the National Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
During the Civil RIghts Movement, she worked with both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1960, she was named the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King was assassinated on her fortieth birthday.
Despite never attending college, Angelou has received over 50 honorary degrees and was the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. Officials at Wake Forest released the following statement:
“Today members of the Wake Forest University community mourn the loss of beloved poet, author, actress, civil rights activist and professor Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou was a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world, including countless students, faculty, and staff at Wake Forest….Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Angelou’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Though little is known of her faith, she said in an interview with The Times-Picayune in February 2013:
“It’s a wonderful thing to know that there is something, to know there is something greater than I am, and that is God itself.”
“I believed that there was a God because I was told it by my grandmother and later by other adults. But when I found that I knew not only that there was God but that I was a child of God, when I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalized that, ingested that, I became courageous….When I was asked to do something good, I often say yes, I’ll try, yes, I’ll do my best. And part of that is believing, if God loves me, if God made everything from leaves to seals and oak trees, then what is it I can’t do?”
Just days before her death, Angelou posted what was her last message on Twitter: “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”
Award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou has died. She was 86
Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed Angelou was found by her caretaker on Wednesday morning.
Angelou had been reportedly battling health problems. She recently canceled a scheduled appearance of a special event to be held in her honor.
Angelou was set to be honored with the “Beacon of Life Award” at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon on May 30 in Houston.
Angelou, one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time, is a celebrated poet, novelist, educator, producer, actress, filmmaker and civil rights activist.
She has received over 50 honorary degrees and was Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
Angelou is famous for saying, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Angelou was named one of the 10 most admired North Carolinians in a recent Elon Poll.
There are no further details at this time.
Source: Fox 8 News
Maya Angelou, a renowned poet, novelist and actress whose work defied description under a simple label, has died, her publicist, Helen Brann, said Thursday.
She died at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., Brann said.
A professor, singer and dancer, among other things, Angelou’s work spans different professions. She spent her early years studying dance and drama in San Francisco, California.
After dropping out at age 14, she become the city’s first African-American female cable car conductor.
Angelou later returned to high school to finish her diploma and gave birth to her son a few weeks after graduation. While the 17-year-old single mother waited tables to support her son, she acquired a passion for music and dance. She toured Europe in the mid-1950s with “Porgy and Bess,” an opera production. In 1957, she recorded her first album, “Calypso Lady.”
In 1958, Angelou become a part of the Harlem Writers Guild in New York and also played a queen in “The Blacks,” an off-Broadway production by French dramatist Jean Genet.
Affectionately referred to as Dr. Angelou, the professor never went to college. She has more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
“I created myself,” she has said. “I have taught myself so much.”
Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up between St. Louis and the then-racially-segregated Stamps, Arkansas.
The famous poet got into writing after a childhood tragedy that stunned her into silence for almost a decade. When she was 7, her mother’s boyfriend raped her. He was later beaten to death by a mob after she testified against him.
“My 7-and-a-half-year-old logic deduced that my voice had killed him, so I stopped speaking for almost six years,” she said.
From the silence, a louder voice was born.
Her list of friends is as impressive as her illustrious career. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey referred to her as “sister friend.” She counted Martin Luther King Jr., with whom she worked during the Civil Rights movement, among her friends. King was assassinated on her birthday.
Source: CNN | Faith Karimi