Award winning author, poet and phenomenal woman Dr. Maya Angelou has died at age 86.
The civil rights activist, whose groundbreaking autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings detailed her childhood in Jim Crow South, was found by her caretaker on Wednesday morning.
She was reportedly battling health problems and had recently canceled a scheduled appearance at a special event to be held in her honor. Angelou, whose literature spans five decades, was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, by President Obama in February 2011.
A beacon for and inspiration for women worldwide, Angelou is responsible for one of the most recited poems to date, Phenomenal Woman:
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies I say, It’s in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can’t touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them, They say they still can’t see. I say, It’s in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. Now you understand Just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, It ought to make you proud. I say, It’s in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need for my care. ’Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
Her family has released a statement following her passing:
“Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love. Guy B. Johnson”
As this is a developing story, we’ll keep you updated with the latest.
2. "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." - Maya Angelou
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3. Maya Angelou is pictured in an undated photo with poet Langston Hughes. From her Facebook: "Langston Hughes and I are enjoying each other."
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4. President Barack Obama kisses poet and author Maya Angelou after giving her the 2010 Medal of Freedom.
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5. "My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return." -Maya Angelou
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6. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou
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7. “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.” -Maya Angelou
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8. "I speak to the Black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition — about what we can endure, dream, fail at and survive." -Maya Angelou
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9. "It’s in the click of my heels. The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand. The need for my care. ’Cause I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman. That’s me." -Maya Angelou
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10. Maya Angelou pictured with her own "phenomenal woman," her mother Vivian Baxter Johnson.
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11. Maya Angelou pictured with her own "phenomenal woman," her mother Vivian Baxter Johnson.
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12. "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" -Maya Angelou
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13. Maya Angelou pictured with her own "phenomenal woman," her mother Vivian Baxter Johnson.
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14. Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou speak during the BET Honors 2012 at the Warner Theatre on January 14, 2012.
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15. Dr. Angelou pictured with the late civil rights and women's activist, Dorothy Height.
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16. "Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option." -Maya Angelou
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17. "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." -Maya Angelou
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18. "You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may tread me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise" -Maya Angelou
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19. "Have enough courage to trust love one more time. And always one more time." -Maya Angelou
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20. "I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life." -Maya Angelou
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21. Maya Angelou pictured with rapper Common at her 82nd birthday. Common has been vocal about her influence, releasing "The Dreamer" in 2011 featuring the poet.
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22. Dr. Angelou with her mentee, Oprah Winfrey. Shortly after the poet's death on May 28th, 2014, Winfrey released this statement: "I've been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister and friend since my 20s...I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds."
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Continue reading Rest In Peace: Author & Poet Maya Angelou Dead At 86 (DETAILS)
22 Photos Of Poet, Author & Activist Maya Angelou Being A "Phenomenal Woman" (PHOTOS)