Noted author and poet Maya Angelou died this morning in her Winston Salem home, her agent told CNN. She was discovered by her caretaker.
Angelou canceled an event just a month earlier in Fayetteville, Arkansas, because she was recovering from an “unexpected ailment” that sent her to the hospital.
Although Angelou was known in later years for writing, she started her career in music and dance. She toured Europe in the mid-1950s with “Porgy and Bess” and recorded her first album, “Calypso Lady” in 1957, according to CNN. A year later, she played a queen in “The Blacks,” an off-Broadway production by French dramatist Jean Genet. Angelou reportedly spoke six languages, and has more than 30 honorary degrees. She taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
She wrote “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” launching the first in a series of autobiographical books, while working as a newspaper editor in Egypt and Ghana. In 1993, she delivered the inaugural poem, “On Pulse Of The Morning” for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration. She was first to recite an inaugural poem since Robert Frost read at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.
Her poetry was standard reading in many high school and collegiate English classes. The collection of poetry “And Still I Rise,” was one of the most popular. The title poem, “Still I Rise”, was the center of an advertising campaign for the United Negro College Fund. “Phenomenal Woman” was featured in the film Poetic Justice.