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NC lawmakers, governors remember Maya Angelou

Posted May 28, 2014

— People across North Carolina mourned the passing of poet and author Maya Angelou on Wednesday, including state lawmakers and governors who knew her.

Angelou was not Carolina born – she was born in Missouri and spent part of her childhood in Arkansas – but she made Winston-Salem her home in 1982 when she became an American Studies professor at Wake Forest University. She often visited and inspired students at other schools in North Carolina as well.

“We were very proud of the fact that this wonderful, phenomenal woman could have chosen anywhere in the world, or in the United States, and she chose Winston-Salem,” said Sen. Earline Parmon, D-Forsyth.

Parmon also appreciated Angelou's mastery of the English language and the voice that made her word craft soar.

“From her humble beginnings … she could really relate to what she was writing about,” Parmon said. “One of my greatest memories is how she dealt with young people who came to her book signings and how she would take time to talk to them and share a little bit of her background with them.”

Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, says Angelou made an impression on him – especially her simple truths about the complexities of black life in America.

“She could tell you what it was like to be an African-American in this country at the time when things were not right,” he said. “She was the type of person who put all that into perspective and helped you understand where you hope to go and what you hope to do.”

Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement about Angelou’s passing on Wednesday, saying “she was a tremendous source of pride for North Carolina, and her adopted state is grieving her loss."

Former Gov. Bev Perdue also released a statement, calling Angelou “a cultural pioneer whose writings will continue to have a profound impact on all of us.”

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