Poet Maya Angelou, who passed away today at the age of 86, professed that her "mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." I think we can say, without a doubt, that she met her goal. 

Angelou was a powerhouse of inspiration, drive and passion. She danced, she sang, she taught, she wrote and perhaps most importantly, she challenged. By sheer will, she became the first African-American woman to conduct a San Francisco streetcar, and that sense of determination helped her become one of the most remarkable and celebrated women of our time. In a statement from her publisher, Random House, Robert Loomis, her editor of more than 40 years, said, “Maya, a dear friend, helped change our hearts and minds about the African American experience in the United States, bringing it to vivid life, and her spirit and energy crossed all borders and deeply affected readers around the world.” 

Her best-selling and unprecedented I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and five subsequent memoirs explore the resiliency of spirit in the face of pain and prejudice. Along with her memoirs, she’s written cookbooks, volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, a book of inspiration for the daughters of the world and a thoughtful remembrance of her mother. Angelou was a fearless and brilliant woman. But perhaps she said it best herself:

"I am a Woman
Phenomenal Woman,
that's me."

Read our interview with Maya Angelou here >>

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