NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – New Rochelle mourned the death, but celebrated the life of award-winning poet, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, who died in North Carolina on Wednesday, May 28.
The renowned author was one of the first African- American women to gain mainstream success as a writer. She was an outspoken civil rights leader, recited a poem at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration and received the President Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama in 2010.
In New Rochelle, Amanda Waters, who said she read Angelou’s autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in high school, noted that although she may not always be recognized as such, the author was one of the more influential figures from the civil rights movement.
“She went through so much, and endured so much, it’s pretty amazing that she still had such an influence on so many people,” she said. “I read some of her stuff in high school, and she dealt with so much. I couldn’t even imagine.”
“It’s too bad, but she had a long, impressive life,” Mike Paige said of the 86-year-old. “She helped a lot of people in her time.”
Angelou, who became an active Twitter user later in her life, used the social medium to spread positivity and wisdom to her followers. She last Tweeted on Friday, May 23: “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”
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