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Legendary author Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86 in North Carolina.
Angelou is best known for her series of autobiographies, which weave together powerful themes of identity, racism and family and consciously expand the parameters of the autobiographical genre.
In particular, Angelou's first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, brought her instant recognition as a Black female writer and the book became an immediate bestseller for its central portrayal of life as an African-American woman.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is lauded as "one of the essential books produced by our culture" and Angelou's ability to express her personal life as central in the novel heralded her as one of the most influential writers in English writing.
Not enough can be said about Angelou's mark on the literary landscape, especially her impact on Black writing and writers. Angelou's contributions to feminist writing and critique, African American autobiography and Black identity, and literary technique and storytelling are endless.
Rest in power Maya Angelou.
For more information on Maya Angelou's life and work, please read here.
To read Maya Angelou's own words on how she wants to be remembered, please read here.
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