The passing of award-winning poet Maya Angelo triggered fond memories of her from Chicagoans, who include elected officials and community stakeholders.
Angelou died at age 86 at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and suffered from heart problems, according to her literary agent, Helen Brann.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel described her as a true soldier for society.
“Today, the thoughts and prayers of the people of Chicago join countless millions around the world in mourning the passing of Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou was a true national treasure. Through poetry, song, dance, and the spoken word, Dr. Angelou gave voice to generations of Americans and became an unstoppable force for peace, civil rights, and social justice," Emanuel said. "I will always be honored to have been present when she delivered her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning” at Present Clinton’s first inauguration, which was a call for inclusion and extending economic security to all Americans. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Dr. Angelou but we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever and inspire future generations working to build a more peaceful and compassionate world.”
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called Angelou a fine mentor to children and adults.
“Maya Angelou was a towering figure of the arts who has inspired generations of people across the globe. Her life, talent and accomplishments read like an epic novel, and yet her works touch the mind and soul like few in our nation’s history. Maya’s example of overcoming almost unimaginable pain and silence to produce masterpieces that will live forever is a shining beacon for all," Quinn said. "As she said, ‘I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.’ “Thank you, Maya, for throwing us something back.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st Dist.) echoed those same sentiments as Emanuel and Quinn.
“Dr. Angelou was an astounding figure on the global stage who took her place daringly encouraging all those around her. She will be missed dearly. I hope her light will continue to shine through those she touched," he said. “She overcame struggle only to triumph and inspire generations to dream and live and hope."