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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Statement by the President on the Passing of Poet Laureate Ms. Maya Angelou

The First Family remarks on the passing of American novelist and poet, Dr. Maya Angelou today.  In his remarks President Obama writes:
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.
In 2010 Dr. Angelou received the Medal of Freedom award from President Obama (view at 23:25 mark).
After the Sandy Hook Massacre Ms. Angelou responded by saying, "Our country is grieving. Each child who has been slaughtered belongs to each of us and each slain adult is a member of our family. It is impossible to explain the horror to ourselves and to our survivors. We need to hold each other’s hands and look into each other’s eyes and say, “I am sorry.”"

A statement by her son, written on her Facebook page, reads:

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
Ms. Angelou starred in television and on screen, and is author of several books including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and the acclaimed book Still I Rise, which became one of her more noted American poems.

One of our favorite Maya Angelou quotes is "I have learned that people will forget what you've said, people will forget what you've done, but they will always remember how you made them feel."

Ms. Angelou was 86.

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