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Poet, Memoirist and Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou Passes Away

Maya Angelou, the memoirist and poet whose landmark 1969 book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — which describes in lyrical, unsparing prose her childhood in the Jim Crow South — died on Wednesday in her home. She was 86 and lived in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Ms. Angelou is well known for delivering the inaugural poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the swearing-in of Bill Clinton in 1993.

Long before that day, she had been a dancer, calypso singer, streetcar conductor, magazine editor and friend or associate of some of the most eminent black Americans of the mid-20th century, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X.

Throughout her writing, Ms. Angelou explored the concepts of personal identity and resilience while examining the socially marginalizing forces of racism and sexism.

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