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Pulse of Mourning: The Passing of Dr. Maya Angelou

On May 28, 2014, legendary poet, author, teacher, and activist Dr. Maya Angelou quietly passed away at the age of 86 in her home, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Doctor Angelou was a powerful voice in the civil rights movement of the twentieth century, for African Americans and women across the United States. She famously recorded her life in a seven-part series of memoirs, beginning with 1969's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which depicts Dr. Angelou's struggles with trauma and racial bigotry, opening with her earliest memories.

In 2011, Dr. Angelou was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian award in the United States, and over her lifetime was awarded with over fifty honorary degrees.

The influence Dr. Angelou's work has had on contemporary literature and culture is immeasurable, and despite being one of the most banned authors in the U.S., she is also one of the highest lauded and most renowned authors of the last century.

In 1993, Dr. Angelou became one of the few speakers at a presidential inauguration to recite a self-written poem. Hear her Grammy-winning verse, written at the request of former President Bill Clinton, in this video.

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