The One Story: HBCUs And The Gatekeeping Of Black Culture
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UPDATED 5:31 P.M., 5/29/14: Cathy Hughes, chairperson and founder of Radio One, a parent company of NewsOne’s Interactive One, says about Maya Angelou’s passing:


Another one of our Queens has gone home to the creator, but the essence of her life’s work, “Inspiration”, will live with us forever. She was able to take her poetic genius and her sense of self-worth, and inspire millions and millions of women, and black women in particular, to feel good about who we are and the essence of our existence. That is truly a gift without measure, which will continue to resonate with many generations to come. We must now honor her legacy by continuing to practice the many lessons of wisdom that she blessed us with. Dr. Maya Angelou said, many times that: “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.



UPDATED 4:25 P.M. EST, 5/28/14:

Attorney General Eric Holder has released his statement on Maya Angelou’s passing:

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Maya Angelou, a true national treasure whom I have admired greatly for many, many years. Dr. Angelou was much more than a literary genius, a chronicler of Jim Crow, and a witness to history.  Through her extraordinary work, she captured the tenacity of the human spirit and spoke of harsh realities in the most evocative, moving, and lyrical of ways.  Over the course of a career spanning some of the most tumultuous decades of the last century, she taught us how to rise above ‘a past that’s rooted in pain.’  She gave voice to a people too often shut out of America’s public discourse.  She displayed remarkable courage in the face of tremendous adversity.  And she inspired generations to overcome life’s greatest challenges – through her extensive writings, her performances, her advocacy, her educational work, and her principled activism.
“For my family and me, Maya Angelou will always be much more than a great American and an icon in world literature.  She is the namesake of one of my daughters, who met her as a young girl and celebrated her twenty-first birthday just one day before the elder Maya was lost to us.  Although our hearts are filled with grief at the news of her passing – a sorrow made all the more acute by the knowledge that we shall not see her like again – she will continue to be a source of strength and inspiration.  She will endure in the singular body of work she leaves behind.  And she will live on in the shining example that guides our steps forward and fuels the work that remains.
“We have lost a legend, a trailblazer in the truest sense, and one of the guiding lights of the 20th century.  Yet despite our heartache and our pain, Maya Angelou will always be with us.  Her voice will continue to console, to challenge, and to inspire us.  We bid her farewell today.  But we know that, even now, ‘into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear,’ still she rises.”

Oprah Winfrey has released her statement on Maya Angelou’s passing:


I’ve been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my 20’s. She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give’ is one of my best lessons from her. She won three Grammys, spoke six languages and was the second poet in history to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration. But what stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she lived her life. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.


UPDATED 12:41 P.M. EST, 5/28/14:

President Barack Obama released the following statement about Maya Angelou’s passing:


When her friend Nelson Mandela passed away last year, Maya Angelou wrote that “No sun outlasts its sunset, but will rise again, and bring the dawn.”

Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.  Over the course of her remarkable life, Maya was many things – an author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer.  But above all, she was a storyteller – and her greatest stories were true.  A childhood of suffering and abuse actually drove her to stop speaking – but the voice she found helped generations of Americans find their rainbow amidst the clouds, and inspired the rest of us to be our best selves.  In fact, she inspired my own mother to name my sister Maya.

Like so many others, Michelle and I will always cherish the time we were privileged to spend with Maya.  With a kind word and a strong embrace, she had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have something to offer.  And while Maya’s day may be done, we take comfort in knowing that her song will continue, “flung up to heaven” – and we celebrate the dawn that Maya Angelou helped bring.

UPDATED 10:44 A.M. EST, 5/28/14:


Maya Angelou’s family has released the following statement, via Facebook, regarding her passing:

Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.

Guy B. Johnson

Rev. Al Sharpton said the following:

“Maya Angelou was the quintessential renaissance woman of the 20th century art and human rights movements. Not only was she a literary icon, she was one of the few that turned her words into action. Although she participated in civil rights rallies, she challenged leaders of the civil rights movement to embrace the struggles of others and a broader view of freedom fighting. She challenged misogyny in the movement and was our poet, conscience, teacher and corrector. She was one of the few people whose presence you felt in the room even if she didn’t say a word. Her spirit was incomparable.”Activist, poet and professor Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86, according to reports from local sources in Winston-Salem.




Two independent sources confirmed Angelou’s death to WXII’s Wanda Starke Tuesday morning. She was 86.

A police car and an ambulance were seen outside Angelou’s home around 8:30 a.m. Winston-Salem police said they are at the home to investigate a death. Read more.

Stay with NewsOne as details develop on the death of Maya Angelou.

The last tweet from her official Twitter account:

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Maya Angelou: Timeline for a Phenomenal Woman
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