By Deborah Ayoade
Today, America and the rest of the world mourn the loss of the phenomenal Author, Poet and Civil Rights Activist, Maya Angelou. Ms Angelou died quietly at home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday Morning. The author was aged 86.
Issuing a statement, her son Guy B Johnson confirmed the news, saying “Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belaboured 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 appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”
The author was set to receive a honouring at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon, in Huston, Texas on 30th May, where she was to be honoured with a Beacon of Life Award, however, due to health problems, she had to cancel her scheduled appearance.
Angelou had received more than 50 awards and 30 honorary degrees around the world for her large collected body of work. This included poetry, autobiographies, fiction and non fiction books but most notably for her 1969 groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which became one of the first best-selling non fiction books written by an African-American woman.
Born on 4th April 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, as Marguerite Annie Johnson, she experienced and survived several personal trials such as growing up in the segregated south, surviving a childhood rape, teenage pregnancy, and even becoming a prostitute at one point in time. These are the first hand experiences that would later form some of the chapters of her many written books.
She emerged from her trials with a lyrical voice. A lyrical voice that inspired and motivated many around the globe, even in her ill-health, she remained inspirational, sharing words of wisdom on her Twitter account.
Below her last tweet read:
Forever her legacy will live on through the great body of work she left behind. R.I.P Maya Angelou.