ATLANTA - People all over the world are paying tribute to a national icon with ties to Metro Atlanta.
Maya Angelou died at her Winston Salem home in North Carolina Wednesday, according to her son. People from all over have expressed their thoughts and are paying tribute to Angelou.
Former President Bill Clinton gave his sentiment on her passing and said, “America has lost a national treasure.”
The poet and civil rights activist had a connection to Atlanta.
Channel 2’s Ryan Young spoke to Dr. Joseph Lowery and Ambassador Andrew Young about her life and love for children.
“Of course I’m sad,” Lowery said. “Maya was a beautiful person, very gifted and brought a lot of joy and understanding to people.”
Young said he is sad to hear of her passing but grateful she lived such a full life.
“It was her time,” Young said. “I don’t know anyone who lived a more glorious, happy life.”
Angelou’s life didn’t start out so happy though, as she was faced with struggles early on. Her mother’s boyfriend raped her at a young age. When she told someone, he was beaten to death as a result.
Angelou felt guilty for speaking up, and for nearly six years afterwards, she did not speak.
One of her gifts to the world was to unravel the deep mysteries of life and put them in plain poetic terms for everyone to understand. The 86-year-old novelist, actress, professor and activist was rewarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 -- the country’s highest civilian honor.
Lowery remembered when Angelou gave him a hard time for trying to recite a poem after the funeral of another civil rights icon, Coretta Scott King.
“After Coretta (‘s) funeral, I used one or two lines in my remarks and she said (to) leave the poetry to her I didn’t try it anymore,” Lowery said with a laugh.
Through Angelou’s 50 books, she has had an impact on the world poetically.
In 2007, Angelou attended a celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Morehouse College, where her grandson attended.
She recited a pledge to rescue the youth in honor of King when she said, “You have already been paid for. Come out of the shadow of irrational prejudice.”
She also made an appearance at the National Black Arts festival in 2002. And In 2008, Young, her longtime friend, threw a star-studded party for her on her 80th birthday.