Maya Angelou: America’s Miss Lou

Repeating Islands

Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou dance at the The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.

Diane Abbott dedicated her column in Jamaica’s Observer to a celebration of Maya Angelou and her Caribbean roots.

THE death of American writer, performer and activist Maya Angelou at 86, has rightly prompted an outpouring of appreciation of her life and work. I knew her for over 25 years and the praise was well merited.

Angelou was America’s Miss Lou.

She was not necessarily the best poet and writer of her era. But she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry. She produced innumerable plays, movies and television shows over a 50-year career. Her work encapsulated important truths about her society. And her statuesque presence and engaging performing skills made her an iconic figure.

In the later years of her career she was taken up by US television superstar Oprah Winfrey. This kept Angelou’s public profile high, well into her 80s. Probably the highlight of…

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