When I arrived at work this morning, my coworkers who sits in the cubicle behind me said came to my desk and said, “You know Maya Angelou died?” Well, no, I didn’t. I was too engrossed in the Huffington Post and the news from the previous day that Herb Jefferies, a jazz singer and actor known as the “bronze cowboy” had died at the age of 100. To my coworker, I responded “Oh, yeah, I was expecting it.” In my defense, I was expecting Maya Angelou’s death, as there had been recent reports of declining health.
So off to social media I went and sure enough everyone was sending their condolences and posting their favorite pictures of and quotes from the legend. My favorite Maya Angelou quote, “Nothing will work unless you do.”
I’m not going to lie, the only full work of hers that I’ve ever read is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. But she encouraged at least two generations to be phenomenal and rise from the dust and ashes.
A lesson in survival, Angelou was raped at age seven and silent for years after. But her voice when it was finally released was booming, powerful and resonated across age, cultural and gender boundaries. Her voice will be greatly missed in the literary and political worlds, but thankfully it is ingrained forever through her poetry and prose.