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Poet Maya Angelou dies at 86

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published May 28, 2014 at 8:49 a.m. Updated May 28, 2014 at 9:54 a.m.


In this Nov. 21, 2008, file photo, poet Maya Angelou is shown in Washington.

Maya Angelou poem at Clinton inauguration

Maya Angelou reads her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at Bill Clinton's first presidential inauguration in 1993. (By Courtesy William J. Clinton Presidential Library)
[View Full-Size]

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Author and poet Maya Angelou, who rose from poverty, segregation and violence to become a force on stage, screen and the printed page, has died. She was 86.

Angelou was born in Missouri but spent much of her childhood in Stamps, Ark.

She gained acclaim for her first book, her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, making her one of the first black 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.

Gov. Mike Beebe called Angelou "an Arkansas and American treasure."

"She drew from a troubled and painful childhood to write books and poems that have inspired countless others," he said in a statement. "From Stamps, Arkansas, to the steps of the U.S. Capitol for President Clinton’s inauguration, Maya Angelou showed how strength, determination and honesty can take us all to the heights of greatness.”

Angelou had been scheduled to speak in Fayetteville last month, but she canceled the appearance because of health reasons.

Her cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the full story.


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Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 total comments

proudarkychristian says... May 28, 2014 at 11:02 a.m.

We've lost a beautiful caring person from our earthly realm. She smiled, she overcame, and she had a love for people. Her wisdom was unique and each of us could benefit from it.
She was a role model, and a gracious person, always. Will miss you, but your legacy lives on.

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bbos42 says... May 28, 2014 at 11:19 a.m.

proudarkychristian, what you said is so beautiful! and I know Maya loves it.

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paladin123p06130833 says... May 28, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.

The sun rose this morning, but there was no real light. In their trees, the birds were all silent, nothing to sing for. Even the sound of falling rain has lost its soothing appeal. How long does one mourn the loss of truth and beauty?

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onlyfair says... May 28, 2014 at 12:38 p.m.

Let's celebrate the Homegoing of a wonderful woman who touched the lives of many through her works! May her legacy live on!

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ArkansasHawk says... May 28, 2014 at 3:41 p.m.

Heaven has a new angelic voice.

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HM2 says... May 28, 2014 at 7:52 p.m.

They ought to bury her alongside Mandela, both of them had enough hate built up inside them to keep each other warm for eternity. i never heard that hateful woman say one good thing about our country, or the state of Arkansas. It was constantly how bad she had it, how bad things are in America, etc. etc. I'm glad she's gone. I'm sick of hearing her complain; typical black activist.

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Populist says... May 28, 2014 at 8:23 p.m.


You are the one filled with hate--not she.

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NoCrossNoCrown says... May 29, 2014 at 12:11 a.m.

"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything"
Sadly that is a lesson unlearned by many who troll this site...

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LSS says... May 31, 2014 at 10:14 a.m.

Yeah, these are great things she should be remembered for:
- gave birth to her son just a few weeks after high school graduation. In her late teens, Angelou spent time working as both a prostitute and madam.
- in September 1960, she was deeply moved by the sight of Castro's exhuberantly warm public embrace of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in New York, where both men were attending a United Nations session. “The Russians were O.K.,” Angelou later reminisced. “Of course, Castro never had called himself white, so he was O.K. from the git.
- helping Malcolm X build his Organization of African American ... she lent her support to the convicted cop-killer and former Black Panther, ...

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