One of the most inspirational voices of our time has passed away! Award winning author, poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou died today at the age of 86.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines told WFMY News 2 that Angelou’s caregiver found her dead in her home Wednesday morning. The cause of death is still unknown, but her health has been on the decline for sometime now.

Angelou is best known for her award-winning writing, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She was a high school dropout who went on to become a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

Her life was extremely successful and inspirational, to say the least. She has held a wide variety of careers…in addition to being an amazing author, she was an actress, director, playwright, composer, singer and dancer. And if that wasn’t enough, she was also the first female and first black street car conductor in San Francisco.

Her biography on her website reads:

“Dr. Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received 3 Grammy Awards. President Clinton requested that she compose a poem to read at his inauguration in 1993. Dr. Angelou’s reading of her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” was broadcast live around the world.

Dr. Angelou has received over 50 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

Dr. Angelou’s words and actions continue to stir our souls, energize our bodies, liberate our minds, and heal our hearts.”


President Obama kisses Maya Angelou after awarding her the 2010 Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House on Feb. 15, 2011.  (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)


Top Five Maya Angelou Quotes:

1.) “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.”

2.)  “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

3.) “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

4.) “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

5.) “I am a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal Woman, that’s me.”


Dr. Angelou has truly made the world a better place and for that we are extremely grateful! Her inspirational words will live on for generations to come. May she Rest in Paradise!

Luke Whitehead

Luke Whitehead

Luke is the founder and CEO of Mixed Nation. He is a global ambassador for diversity, equity, and inclusion with certification from Cornell University. He is a former professional basketball player. He has dedicated his life to impact meaningful change within his circle of influence. See more articles by this author >