Maya Angelou Passes On

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou was found dead in her Winston-Salem, N.C., home Wednesday morning. She was 86.

“Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored 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 extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love,” Angelou’s son Guy Johnson said in a statement.

Maya Angelou born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American author and poet. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years.

She received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim. (Source – Wikipedia).

Maya Angelou received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2010 and also taught at Wake Forest, where she served as Reynolds Professor of American Studies since 1982

In 1971, Angelou published the Pulitzer Prize-nominated poetry collection Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die. She later wrote the poem “On the Pulse of Morning“—one of her most famous works—which she recited at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Angelou has received several honors throughout her career, including two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, in 2005 and 2009.

I think that it’s one of the most important of the gifts you can give to the human race – to forgive people. And mind you, what you do, of course, is you liberate your own self – you liberate yourself from carrying that weight around. So that when you say, ‘I forgive you,’ it’s a giant gift. A gift that’s first to yourself – because it means you’re not toting that burden around and saying, ‘I have this. I will never forgive you.’

And then of course that means you will never be free, you will never be at ease – you will be continually burdened. So I think to learn how to forgive, it’s a great lesson to learn. And I never had that feeling that I had to carry the weight of somebody’s ignorance around with me. And that was true for racists who wanted to use the ‘n’ word when talking about me or about my people, or the stupidity of people who really wanted to belittle other folks because they weren’t pretty or they weren’t rich or they weren’t clever. I never had that feeling that I had to carry that around – that was somebody else’s problem not mine. And a part of that, of course, I learned from my mother, Vivian Baxter.”

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