May 28, 2014. Maya Angelou was found Wednesday morning at her Winston-Salem home by her caregiver. The celebrated writer, educator, producer, actress, filmmaker and civil rights activist had recently been battling illness, and had cancelled her appearance at the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, where she was to be honored, citing “health reasons.”
“Poets are a window to the soul,” said North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller. “They are a conduit to understanding and communicating the prevailing zeitgeist and they bear the responsibility of providing insight into our society, our surroundings and ourselves. The passing of Maya Angelou reminds us of the value and power of creative expression and the immortality of her words.”
AAC-NCDP President Willie Fleming had similar sentiment and personal recollections of the civil rights/ arts great. Fleming met Angelou in 1988 in Greensboro as part of a delegation meeting with then Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson.
“She sat beside me and we spoke. During our conversation about civil rights and the possibility of an African-American president, she touched me and said ‘young man, everything is going to be alright’,” Fleming remembered. “When she got to the podium, she gave me a wink. We have to keep pushing forward in honor of Maya Angelou and other fighters for social justice and equality. She explained why the Caged Bird sang then and how we can all sing louder if freed from the social limitations of the past and present. We thank her.”
Despite her troubled childhood, she was a three-time Grammy winner and was nominated for a Pulitzer, a Tony, and an Emmy for her role in the groundbreaking television mini-series “Roots.”