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African American Writer, Maya Angelou, Dies

“I don't know how much longer I'll be around. I'll probably be writing when the Lord says, 'Maya, it's time.” -Maya Angelou 1928-2014

American author and poet, Maya Angelou aged 86, has died.


Born Marguerite Ann Johnson April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, she was the daughter of a doorman and naval dietician, Bailey Johnson, and his wife Vivian, a nurse, bar owner and entertainer. Following her parents’ separation, she and her brother, also Bailey, were sent by their father to live with his very strict mother in Stamps, Arkansas.


In her biography, Angelou wrote that she suffered from trauma after her mother’s boyfriend raped her at the age of seven. Following his murder, to which she felt responsible, Angelou stopped speaking for five years. It was at this point that she was introduced to poetry, reading the likes of black authors such as Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar, and later was encouraged to read aloud by an educated woman in the black community, Bertha Flowers, from Shakespeare, Dickens and Austen among others.


Her colourful career spanned over fifty years of works that included seven auto biographies, a number of books of poetry, three books of essays, and credits for her contributions in plays, movies and television shows.


The acclaimed writer leaves behind her son, Guy Johnson. Angelou passed away on May 28th 2014 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

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