On Maya Angelou’s birthday, we’re reminded of the robust legacy she left behind in literature, artistry and Black womanhood.
The poet, author, singer and orator was one of the world’s greatest treasures for her raw honesty. And in honor of her birthday, fans have jumped on social media to speak on how she impacted their lives. One of her biggest fans and closest friends, Oprah Winfrey, even posted a special message to Angelou.
“Sweet memories,” Oprah captioned the photo. “Happy Birthday Maya!” She continued: “One of my favorite memories of us. She would have been 89 today. #andstillirise#mayaangelou”
Angelou and Oprah’s friendship began four decades ago.
“When I first met Maya, in the ’70s, I couldn’t have guessed what the next few decades would bring—or that she would be there for me every step of the way, a wise, loving presence and the greatest mentor I’ve ever known,” Oprah said is a letter posted to her website.
“Over the years, she has taught me some of the most profound lessons of my life: that when we know better, we do better; that to love someone is to liberate, not possess, them; that negative words have the power to seep into the furniture and into our skin; that we should be grateful even for our trials.”
“She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds,” she wrote.