Poet Maya Angelou has dead at age 86.

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It is with great sadness that we must write this: Maya Angelou has died. The award-winning author, civil rights activist, and prolific cultural icon was 86 at the time of her death. The Winston-Salem mayor, Allen Joines, stated that Angelou had passed away and was discovered by her caretaker earlier this morning.

Angelou was not only one of the most accomplished authors of the twentieth century, including the great I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, she was also an integral activist in the Civil Rights movement. She has been lauded and respected by presidents, universities (she received over thirty honorary doctorates), and readers alike, all of whom were touched by her wisdom and profound intelligence.

While Angelou had been dealing with health problems and had recently canceled a public appearance for the “Beacon of Life Award,” one she undeniably deserved, it is still a shocking death that brings a deep sadness throughout today. So today, let’s all just take a moment, go read one of her poems, read some of her most incredible quotes, and honor what Maya Angelou did for both our culture and our society. Here’s one to start you off with:

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”