NEW YORK (AP) — Maya Angelou, who rose from poverty, segregation and the harshest of childhoods to become a force on stage, screen, the printed page and the inaugural dais, has died. She was 86.
Her death was confirmed in a statement issued by Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she had served as a professor of American Studies since 1982.
Tall and regal, with a deep, majestic voice, Angelou defied all probability and category, becoming one of the first black women to enjoy mainstream success as an author and thriving in virtually every artistic medium. The young single mother who performed at strip clubs to earn a living later wrote and recited the most popular presidential inaugural poem in history. The childhood victim of rape wrote a million-selling memoir, befriended Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and performed on stages around the world.
An actress, singer and dancer in the 1950s and 1960s, she broke through as an author in 1970 with "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," which became standard (and occasionally censored) reading, and was the first of a multipart autobiography that continued through the decades. In 1993, she was a sensation reading her cautiously hopeful "On the Pulse of the Morning" at former President Bill Clinton's first inauguration. Her confident performance openly delighted Clinton and made the poem a best-seller, if not a critical favorite. For former President George W. Bush, she read another poem, "Amazing Peace," at the 2005 Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the White House.
The Battle of Island Mound, a documentary on the first time African American troops engaged in Civil War Combat
The first St. Louis African Arts Festival was held in 1991 as an outgrowth of the 34th Annual African Studies Conference hosted by Washington University. A year prior to the conference, a group of academic, business, and community leaders came together to explore ways in which a forum could be established that would bring the diverse community of St. Louis together for the purpose of learning and celebrating the rich and diverse cultures of African and African American people. The mission of the festival is to increase the awareness of the global contributions of African people and people of African descent have made through art, cultural, and educational programs.
The St. Louis African Arts Festival is held in beautiful Forest Park. Each year the festival attracts a diverse audience of thousands of local residents and out-of-town visitors during the Memorial Day weekend. The Festival draws the community together in celebration of the rich contributions of Africa and the African Diaspora (diaspora--people settled far from their ancestral homelands). The annual event enjoys partnerships with major local cultural institutions as the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Zoo, the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Public Library, the Muny, and Washington University in St. Louis.
The African Heritage Association of St. Louis, the parent organization of the St. Louis African Arts Festival, receives support from the Missouri Arts Council and the Regional Arts Commission. The festival is free and open to the public.
The African Heritage Association of St. Louis, Inc. (AHA) is a 501(C) 3, non-profit organization and is governed by its Board of Directors.
We have many people to thank for helping us get to where we are today.
Lets recognize their work in everything we do...