Maya Angelou, legendary poet and author, 1928-2014

Maya Angelou receives a Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, February 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)


Maya Angelou receives a Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, February 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

The great American poet, author, activist, and actor Dr. Maya Angelou died today at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was 86.

From her local paper:

In addition to her many books, she was a Grammy winner for three spoken-word albums. She had a home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she was a professor of American studies at Wake Forest University.

Her 1969 book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” —- which describes "in lyrical, unsparing prose her childhood in the Jim Crow South" -— was one of the first autobiographies by a contemporary black woman writer to reach a wide audience.

The New York Times, NPR, Time, the Washington Post, and every other news outlet of note in America offer obituaries, but one need only read a few lines of her work, or listen to her reading them in her own voice, to gain a sense of what the world just lost.

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