Dr Maya Angelou, American legendary author, renowned poet and civil rights activist has died.
Dr Angelou, who was one of America’s leading literary voices of the last 50 years, died today at the age of 86.
Wake Forest University, where Dr Angelou had been professor of American studies since 1982, said: Dr. Angelou was a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world.
“Maya Angelou has been a towering figure — at Wake Forest and in American culture. She had a profound influence in civil rights and racial reconciliation,” said Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch. “We will miss profoundly her lyrical voice and always keen insights.”
The University said their thoughts and prayers were with Dr Angelou’s family and friends during this difficult time.
A statement issued by the late author’s family said: “Dr Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. 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.”
Dr Angelou once said: “Courage is the most important of all virtues because without courage you can’t practise any of the other virtues consistently.”
She also said: “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.”
Paul Lawrence, Director of The Life Skills Training Consultancy, London mourned Dr Angelou saying: “One of our greats has passed today, not just a great black woman, but a great human. Someone that inspired and lifted people of all races. Today is as good a day as any for those left in the struggle to recognise the breadth of the shoulders on which we stand and to ensure our stance is worthy of such greats as Maya Angelou.”
Zita Holbourne, Co-founder and National Co-Chair of BARAC UK, said she was sad that Dr Angelou died on her birthday. “Thank you Maya Angelou for your writings, your poetry, creativity, strength and inspiration. Rise in Peace, Still I will Rise with the memory of your life. One of my Sheroes.”
Her Royal Highness, Princess Deun Adedoyin Solarin said: “We have just lost our Beloved Amazon, Great Pan-Africanist and Elder States Woman. Dr Maya Angelou has gone home to rest. May her very beautiful and most dignified soul keep dancing with the Angels above. You will be missed by us all, RIP Mama Maya.”
Rachel Toussaint, a Solicitor and an Immigration Consultant at Rogols Community Action Consultancy, Birmingham UK, said: “You ran a good race…Safe transition..RIP.”
Muzvare-Princess Betty Makoni, the founder of Girl Child Network Worldwide, described the late author as “the Mountain, the hero, change maker, the poem,” adding that her story carries on. “You lived for a purpose, you made us to rise”.