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.
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.