Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86. The legendary civil rights activist and multi-talented author, poet, dancer and educator was found unresponsive in her Winston-Salem, North Carolina, house early Wednesday morning (May 28), CNN confirms.
Angelou, who was born on April 4, 1928, wore many hats, and her career has spanned over five decades.
The St. Louis, Missouri, native is well-known for her novels and poetry, including the classic, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which detailed the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, prompting her to be silent for nearly six years.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Angelou, as she was referred to, received over 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
Prior to that she appeared in early productions such as the off-Broadway play “The Blacks,” and later won three Grammy Awards and was nominated for an Emmy for her role in the critically acclaimed TV series mini-series “Roots.”
Angelou’s creative work was only one portion of her enduring legacy, however. She also became the first African American female cable car conductor in San Francisco at the age of 14, and eventually became one of the country’s first black female directors.
Her trials and triumphs have left a permanent mark on our culture.
Rest in peace, Maya Angelou.