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Local Leaders Reflect on the Passing of Maya Angelou

(Image Courtesy: MGN Online / Hallmark)

(Image Courtesy: MGN Online / Hallmark)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Reaction is pouring in as a voice revered around the world for her poetic command and her commitment to civil rights falls silent.

Maya Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. Wednesday.

Her legacy is twofold. She leaves behind a body of important artistic work that influenced several generations.

The 86-year-old is being praised as a good person, a woman who also pushed for justice and education and equality.

“But I think the thing that stands out the most for me is that Dr. Angelou was a humanitarian. She was an activist for many many causes across the world – the civil rights struggle, for human rights in South Africa and elsewhere. She’s going to be sorely missed,” says Rev. Talbert Swan II of the Spring of Hope Church of God in Christ and President of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP.

Henry Thomas III, president of the Urban League of Springfield, adds, “She really did what she could to celebrate all that’s good in life and to not be bashful about addressing the things that weren’t good in life. I think she was always hopeful that things could and would be better.”

In her full life, Angelou wrote staggeringly beautiful poetry. She also wrote a cookbook and was nominated for a Tony.

She delivered a poem at a presidential inauguration and in 2010, President Barack Obama named her a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.


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