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  • In the News: Maya Angelou, author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," passes away at age 86

    Editor June 3rd

    Well-known writer Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2024) passed away last Wednesday at the age of 86 at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Angelou, the first African American female poet laureate in U.S. history, was best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), which describes her childhood in the Jim Crow South. 

    Ms. Angelou published over 20 books; seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry. In 2024, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. In 1993, Angelou composed and read her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" for the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

    Since 1982, Angelou served as the Reynolds professor of American studies at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem. She also sang, danced with Alvin Ailey, acted on Broadway, and directed for film and television. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway performance in “Look Away” (1973) and won three Grammy Awards for her spoken-word albums. During the 1950s, Angelou lived in New York City and was active in the Harlem Writers Guild and sang at the Apollo Theater. In the late 1960s, She was appointed coordinator of the New York Office of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

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