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Maya Angelou was found dead by her caretaker this morning (May 28, 2014) She been in somewhat poor health and had canceled recent scheduled appearances.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Statement from Dr. Maya Angelou’s Family:

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.

–Guy B. Johnson

I first encountered Maya Angelou’s writing with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the 1969 autobiography about the early years of this prolific and outspoken African-American writer and poet.  While I am not a big fan of poetry in general, I have almost always enjoyed Angelou’s poems when I have encountered them.  Her command of the English language and her ability to convey ideas with power and clarity has always entranced me.

In much of Dr. Angelou’s later work, especially when speaking to large crowds, she stressed the importance of reading – ‘voraciously and constantly’ – and to never stop learning. To me, the most appropriate way to reflect on her life and work is to read a book.

If you have never had the opportunity to read or listen to her work it may be time for a trip to the library.  Here in Philadelphia, the Free Library has a lot of her writing available in ebook or audiobook format that can downloaded and enjoyed at home.  This is just a small portion:

Maya Angelou's Diigital Materials

To access these materials, you just need your library card number and pin handy when you visit the Library’s ematerial portal. You can use the site to check out audio books or ebooks that are currently available to place a hold on materials that are already checked out.

In her own words…

Trying to select a favorite quote of Dr. Angelou’s is very difficult. Her skill as a poet and writer has resulted in a phenomenal number of touching and engaging quotes.  On Goodreads, there are 13 pages of her quotes.  Rather than try to select my favorites, here are  a few that I like that have been shared on Twitter.