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Iconic poet Maya Angelou dead at 86


Noted author, poet laureate and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was found dead Wednesday morning by her caretaker. She was 86. During her lifetime, Angelou saw many things and she wrote about them with great depth and emotion. Her seminal book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is mandatory reading in many high schools across the country.

Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri to Bailey Johnson, a doorman and a navy dietitian, and Vivian (Baxter) Johnson, a nurse. Her mother and father divorced and Angelou found herself without warning sent to Stamps, Arkansas to live with her maternal grandmother. She spoke of her early life of abuse and rape at the age of 8 by her mother’s boyfriend in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The rapist named “Freeman” was jailed for only one day. He was later found murdered. Angelou believed her uncles killed the man.

However, the trauma of that rape which caused her to be mute for five years, also gave her artistic voice and passion. Despite her numerous obstacles, Angelou rose to become a literary force and wise elder to a score of people from the common man to stars such as Oprah Winfrey. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for her many works and contributions.

Angelou was aware of and used social media quite frequently. Her last post to Twitter was on May 23, 2014, in which she tweeted:  “Listen to yourself and in the quietude you might hear the voice of God.”                                                                                                 


  1. [email protected] on May 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    no words….cant yet

  2. butter bean sugar on May 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    omg, this lady other than harriet tubman is my ultimate hero ., everyone knows what she means to me , A POEM I WROTE FOR HER ENJOY…..written by me

    STRONG AS A WIND, that GAVE BIRTH TO our passion and disapated our
    fears , you hushed a baby crying in a cradle because your whisper is like
    a lullaby, i let your voice guide me through my pains . cause thats what god
    made you for .
    just the thought of you sparkles my heart like silver, and shine my mind like
    a diamond can do . your rich in love, and wealthy in passion
    a sentimenal flower that we witness grow . right by my door right by my door
    i couldnt pick you cause the lovelyness of your growth adored my spirits
    the lady with the golden smile , my mother you were , my auntieYOU WERE , i never even had a friend this kind my sister my grandma, my everything you could be .
    god thank you for this one this one was a reminder of what i had, and what
    i want to be til i see you again, til i see you again
    thank you maya thank you sister , i say this for every being you touched and the ones who never knew. thank you so much for being you .
    by j.h poet .. orginal poem. written 2014 a poem for maya angelou

  3. butter bean sugar on May 29, 2014 at 1:02 am

    my favorite MAYA ANGELOU QUOTE … IS … IF SOMEONE SHOWS YOU WHO THEY ARE BELIEVE THEM … love that quote by her …