Features, People & Parties

Legendary activist, author, and poet Maya Angelou dies at 86

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Celebrated American activist, author, and poet Maya Angelou, well known for her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, has passed away at age 86. Angelou reportedly died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday. This remarkable woman was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honour, in 2010 by President Barack Obama. Since 1982, she taught at Wake Forest University, where she was awarded the first Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was also active in the Civil Rights movement, most notably working with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. As she aged, her accomplishments did not wane. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem On the Pulse of Morning at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration. She was the first poet to recite her work at an inauguration since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. Some of her best-known quotes from her work: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” “If you only have one smile in you, give it to the people you love.” “Love recognized no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

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