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Legendary Literary Icon, Maya Angelou, Dies at 86

Legendary Literary Icon, Maya Angelou, Dies at 86
May 28
19:59 2014

angelou 11The poet and writer Maya Angelou died Wednesday morning at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., her literary agent, Helen Brann, said. She was 86.

Ms. Angelou, who was born in St. Louis in 1928 as Marguerite Johnson and grew up grappling with poverty and sexual abuse, had a wide-ranging artistic career that spanned more than 50 years. She worked as an actor, dancer, television and film writer and producer, but she first gained widespread recognition with the 1969 publication of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” the first installment in her seven autobiographies.

angelou 4

The book explored her struggles with rape, racial identity and sexism and became a best-seller and a staple in many high schools and colleges. It was nominated for a National Book Award.

In 1993, Ms. Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. Her performance delighted Mr. Clinton and made the poem a best-seller. The following week, sales of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” increased by 500%, according to Random House, her publisher

Ms. Brann, who was Ms. Angelou’s agent for close to 35 years, said that Ms. Angelou was in the midst of writing a new book and was in good spirits when the pair spoke yesterday.

“She sounded as she always did. She sounded vital and interested in her new book which we were talking about,” said Ms. Brann. “It’s a terrific book, a memoir.” The book was unfinished.

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Poet and author Maya Angelou recites a poem, “On the Pulse of the Morning,” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Angelou died Wednesday at 86.

Ms. Angelou was active on social media and connected with fans and readers on Twitter. Her last tweet, posted on May 23, urged readers to quiet reflection: “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God,” she wrote.

Ms. Angelou had suffered from poor health recently. In a post on her Facebook page on May 26, she wrote, “An unexpected medical emergency caused me the greatest disappointment of having to cancel my visit to the Major League Baseball Civil Rights Game ceremony. I am so proud to be selected as its honoree. However, my doctors told me it would be unadvisable for me to travel at that time. My thanks to Robin Roberts for speaking up for me and thank you for all your prayers. I am each day better.”

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Her passing drew an outpouring of accolades and condolences from artists, entertainers and world leaders. President Barack Obama called Ms. Angelou “one of the brightest lights of our time—a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.” He noted that his sister, Maya, was named after Ms. Angelou.

Mr. Clinton, praised Ms. Angelou’s “wisdom and wit, courage and grace” in a statement, and added, “I will always be grateful for her electrifying reading of ‘On the Pulse of Morning’ at my first inaugural, and even more for all the years of friendship that followed.”

Robert Loomis, Ms. Angelou’s editor of more than 40 years, said in a statement, “Maya, a dear friend, helped change our hearts and minds about the African-American experience in the United States, bringing it to vivid life, and her spirit and energy crossed all borders and deeply affected readers around the world.”

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She “will be deeply missed,” said Gina Centrello, Random House’s president and publisher.

Ms. Angelou had been a professor of American studies at North Carolina’s Wake Forest University since the early 1980s.

She learned several languages and published 36 books, including volumes of poetry, essay collections, cookbooks and children’s stories. She won the National Medal of Arts in 2000, and in 2013 she received an award for outstanding service to the American literary community at the National Book Awards.

She’s survived by her son, Guy Johnson. In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Mr. Johnson wrote, “She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace.

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On behalf of the editorial team and board of directors of YJ Transglobal Inc, we commiserate with the family , the entire literary world and the United States of America on the passing away into glory of Ms Angelou , we pray God grant the family the fortitude to bear the lost. death but yet rise and envelope in mist of angels…………… still she rise

Still I Rise

angelou1

angelou1Maya Angelou, 1928 – 2014
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I riseangelou3

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Jide Adesina

Jide Adesina

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