Maya Angelou Obituary

Photo Credits: Google Images

Photo Credits: Google Images

Noah Choi, Staff Writer

 

  On May 28th, 2014, one of the greatest literary voices fell silent. Maya Angelou, 86, passed away in her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Angelou was revered around the globe not only for her poetic command but also for her commitment to civil rights as she fought for justice, education, and equality. Angelou is well known for her international bestseller, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which was nominated for a National Book award in 1970. In 2010, President Barack Obama presented Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’s highest civilian honor.

  What most people do not know about Maya Angelou is her tragic past. Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, she grew up between St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. At age 7, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. After testifying against him, he was beat to death by a mob. Angelou stated, “My 7-and-a-half-year logic deduced that my voice had killed him, so I stopped speaking for almost six years.” She then spent her early years studying drama and dance in San Francisco, but dropped out when she was 14. Angelou soon became San Francisco’s first female streetcar driver. She later returned to her high school and earned her diploma. At 17, she gave birth to Clyde “Guy” Johnson and waited tables to support herself and her child.

  Angelou spoke at least six languages and was usually referred to as Dr. Angelou despite never having attended college. She taught American Studies for over 20 years at Wake University in Winston-Salem.

 She had been close friends with Malcom X, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a mentor to Oprah Winfrey, and most importantly, an inspiration to young adults and world celebrities alike.

 

“Look where we’ve all come from … coming out of darkness, moving toward the light,” Angelou once said. “It is a long journey, but a sweet one, bittersweet.”