Poet, human rights activist Maya Angelou dead at 86

Maya Angelou. (AFP)

Maya Angelou. (AFP)

Celebrated African-American author, poet and human rights activist Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86, US media said on Wednesday.

Mayor Allen Joines of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, told Fox TV affiliate WGHP in the southern state that Angelou was found on Wednesday morning by her caretaker.

She gained acclaim for her first book, her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, making her one of the first African-American women to write a best-seller. In 1998, she directed the film Down in the Delta about a drug-wrecked woman who returns to the home of her ancestors in the Mississippi Delta. 

She was the poet chosen to read at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993. She wrote and read an original composition, On the Pulse of Morning, which became a million-seller.

“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God,” she wrote in the most recent post on her @DrMayaAngelou Twitter account on May 23. – AFP, AP

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