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Maya Angelou: America's Poet

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Maya Angelou was a source of inspiration and strength for millions of Americans from all walks of life.

When beloved poet and activist Maya Angelou died May 28, 2014, at the age of 86, friends and admirers from around the world reacted swiftly to news of her death, offering condolences and praising her inspirational contributions.

Known as "America's poet," Angelou was a Renaissance woman and a cultural pioneer. During a career spanning over 50 years, Angelou wrote and published numerous autobiographies, volumes of poetry, and essays. She acted in, wrote, directed, and produced plays, movies, and television programs. She was active in the civil rights movement, working with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and was a respected advocate for black people and women. 

With Death of Maya Angelou, America Loses One of the Most Influential Voices of 20th Century

The first of Angelou's seven autobiographies, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (1969), brought her international recognition and acclaim. In the bestseller, Angelou tells the story of her own troubled childhood, one that was plagued by racism and sexual abuse. But the very themes and incidents that make her book powerful also contributed to it being one of the most frequently banned books of recent years. Read more

As a poet, Angelou was perhaps best known for "On the Pulse of Morning," the Grammy-winning poem she wrote and delivered at President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration.

 

Angelou was a source of inspiration and strength for millions of Americans from all walks of life. She counted presidents and heads of state among her fans as well as the generations of students who discovered her works year after year. For decades her words shaped America's heart. Read Maya Angelou In Her Own Words