Maya Angelou dead at 86
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/28/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Legendary American author and poet Maya Angelou passed away on May 28 at the age of 86.
Award winning poet and author Maya Angelou has passed away today at the age of 86.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Angelou was also an actress, professor, singer, dancer and a political activist noted for her passion and commitment to civil rights and her poetic command of the English language.
Born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928, Angelou witnessed many tumultuous events during the civil rights movement, including the brutality of the Jim Crow South. This was portrayed in her most revered written work, her memoir "I know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Readers were able to witness the life of Angelou through the age of 16, seeing the events that shaped her, including her abandonment by her parents, discrimination suffered in rural Arkansas, her rape by her mother's boyfriend and how she gave birth as a teenager.
Published in 1969, the book was considered both daring and historic. "All the writers of my generation must honor the ground broken by Dr. Maya Angelou," wrote author Tayari Jones on her Facebook page. "She told a story that wasn't allowed to be told. Now, people tell all sorts of things in memoir, but when she told the truth, she challenged a taboo-not for shock value, but to heal us all."
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" was an international bestseller and nominated for a National Book Award in 1970. Angelou wrote six other autobiographies before her death, all detailing different portions of her life.
Angelou's talent and influence led her to friendship with many other influential civil rights leaders including Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., whom was shot on her birthday.
Oprah Winfrey was also close friends, having called Angelou a "sister friend."
In 2010 Angelou was given the Medal of Freedom by President of Barrack Obama, the nation's highest civilian honor.
Though Angelou has more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, she never earned a doctorate.
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