In Memoriam: Maya Angelou

We join an international community of readers mourning the death of Maya Angelou, the poet and memoirist who taught us that caged birds sing and that all God’s children need their traveling shoes. Angelou, who passed away May 28, is best known for her work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, a lyrical memoir that poignantly describes her childhood in the Jim Crow South. Angelou’s autobiographical All God’s Children Need Their Traveling Shoes is a Longitude favorite for its depiction of her experience living in Ghana in the 1960s after independence and during an optimistic time with Kwame Nkrumah as president. Against this backdrop and through her powerful prose, Angelou explores issues of identity and self-discovery. In addition to these books, Angelou published five other autobiographical works and inspired multitudes with her poetry. The bird has flown the cage, but lucky for us, she left behind her song.