DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Miami Valley and the nation mourn the death of poet, activist and author Maya Angelou. Angelou died in North Carolina Wednesday at the age of 86.
Nine years ago, along with her good friend, Oprah Winfrey, the former poet laureate spoke at Dayton’s Schuster Center – it was a benefit for the Wright Dunbar Business District. Idotha “Bootsie” Neal was executive director of Wright Dunbar at that time. “We were fortunate, the funds were used to re-develop the Wright Dunbar Business District,” said Neal.
Margaret Peters, retired teacher and local historian of Dayton’s African American history, says Angelou’s first book and autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, takes its title and message from Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “Sympathy”.
She says of Angelou, “there are a lot of writers. There are a lot of people who are great writers. She was a great person who was able to relate to all people from all conditions.”