maya angelou

  When Maya Angelou and Tavis Smiley met in 1986, he was twenty-one and she was fifty-eight. For the next twenty-eight years, they shared an unlikely, special bond. Angelou was a teacher and a maternal figure to Smiley, and they talked often, of art, politics, history, race, religion, music, love, purpose, and--more than anything--courage. Courage to be open, to follow dreams, to believe in oneself.

In My Journey with Maya, Smiley recalls a joyful friendship filled to the brim with sparkling conversation--in Angelou's gardens surrounded by her caged birds, before lectures, sharing meals, and on breaks from it all, they sought each other out for comfort, advice, and above all else, friendship.

    Dr. Maya Angelou, the memoirist and poet who wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, died on Wednesday in her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.

Born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis April 4, 1928, Angelou led a life that contained many adventures and accomplishments - any one of which might fill the entire life of another person - in addition to writing some of the most beautiful poetry and prose in existence - she was a dancer, calypso singer, streetcar conductor, single mother, magazine editor, administrative assistant, official of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Tony-nominated stage actress; and a college professor.

Here were share portions of some of Joe Donahue's conversations with her over the years.

Poet Maya Angelou has died at 86. She frequently appeared on WAMC's The Roundtable. Those archived interviews are available below.

      In His Day is Done, Maya Angelou delivers an authentically heartfelt and elegant tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, who stood as David to the mighty Goliath of Apartheid and who, after twenty-seven years of unjust imprisonment on the notorious Robben Island, emerged with “His stupendous heart intact / His gargantuan will / Hale and hearty” to lead his people into a new era.

Maya Angelou joins us to discuss the poem and the loss of a man she feels fortunate to have called a friend.

    In her new book, Mom & Me & Mom, Maya Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call Lady, revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them. It is a tribute to motherhood and unconditional love.