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Renowned poet and author Maya Angelou dies

 

World-renowned author, poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou passed away Wednesday.She was 86.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina Mayor Allen Joines says Angelou was found dead at her home by her caretaker this morning.  Angelou had reportedly been dealing with health problems.  She recently cancelled an appearance in Houston where she was to be honored by Major League Baseball with the "Beacon of Life Award."

She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes.  The works focus on her childhood and early adult life.  The first of the books was titled I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and it recounted her first 17 years.  The work gained her international recognition and was nominated for a National Book Award. 

Angelou was awarded more than 30 honorary degrees and had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her 1971 volume of poetry Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore Diiie.

Last year, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and was the Northern Coordinator of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior's Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

Since 1951, she has taught at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.  She recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's first inauguration.  In doing so Angelou became the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.

 

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