Legendary author Maya Angelou died from heart failure in her home in Winston Salem, NC on May 28, 2014 at age 86.
The brilliantly gifted poet’s most famous national and international poem was “On The Pulse Of Morning” skillfully written, profoundly performed and read at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993.
Subsequently, Angelou won a Grammy Award (Best Spoken Word Album) for the audio version of “On The Pulse Of Morning.”
Although Angelou supported former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic Presidential Primary against future President Barack Hussein Obama in 2008, the famous author was proud of President Obama’s historical achievement as the first African-American elected president.
“I’m excited. I’m hopeful. I’m talking all the time to people, and sometimes I’ve really said it so many times, I wonder if I’m coming off like a piece of tape recording, but I’m proud to be an American,” Angelou said excitedly.
In 2010 President Obama named Angelou the recipient of the “Presidential Medal Of Freedom,” which is the country’s highest civilian honor.
Upon Angelou’s ill-fated death on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, President Obama remorsefully issued a press statement.
“(Mayo Angelou) is one of the brightest lights of our time, a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman,” exclaimed President Obama.
This phenomenal and extraordinary woman was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928.
Angelou has experienced, endured and survived teenage pregnancy at 16 years-old in 1944, and proudly gave birth to her son Guy.
Teenage pregnancy was once considered a taboo within the African-American community provoking religious and social ostracization in the early 19th century.
Briefly, Angelou was married in 1952 to a Greek sailor Anastasios Angelopulos.
The famous author skillfully modified a variation of her former husband’s last name juxtaposed with her early childhood nickname Mayo to conjure the nationally and internationally acclaimed name Maya Angelou.
Earlier in Angelou’s dramatic performing arts career, the calypso singer and dancer had an integral character role in the touring production of “Porgy And Bess.”
Angelou later appeared in the Off-Broadway production “Calypso Heat Wave” (1957), and released her first album “Miss Calypso” (1957).
“You’re going to be famous” critically predicted her son Guy. “But it won’t be for singing.”
The multi-talented Angelou directed “Down In The Delta” (1988), starring Alfred Woodward, Al Freeman, Wesley Snipes, and the late Esther Rolle.
Angelou had a difficult childhood, and experienced racial prejudice, discrimination, segregation, and child molestation in Arkansas that would later shape her brilliant literary career.
Angelou’s parents divorced when she and her older brother Bailey were young children.
Consequently, the precocious Angelou was raped by her mother’s pedophile boyfriend at 7 years-old, and Angelou’s vigilante uncles brutally beat to death her mother’s perverted boyfriend.
Angelou was extremely traumatized by the childhood rape and brutal death of her sexual predator, and regretfully she became a virtual mute for seven years.
Angelou was encouraged by the late legendary African-American author James Baldwin to write an autobiography of her life.
Angelou was inspired and motivated to write her 1969 autobiography “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.”
Moreover, the autobiography became a national and international bestseller, and made literary history as the first non-fiction bestseller by an African-American woman, and nominated for the 1970 National Book Award.
The late literary icon is a “Phenomenal Woman,” who always achieved and believed “Still I Rise," but “Just Give Me A Cool Drink Of Water ‘Fore I Die,” “OnThe Pulse Of Morning,” because “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.”