Maya Angelou, writer of many talents, dies at 86

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By AP

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Updated: Thu, 29 May 2014 07:20:07 EST

NEW YORK (AP) — Maya Angelou was a woman of many identities — poet foremost among them — but those who knew her well made sure to address her as Dr. Angelou, out of respect for all the honorary degrees she received.

Titles mattered to Angelou, who never graduated from college, as they would to anybody who grew up with nothing, achieved everything and were determined never to give it back.

Angelou, a renaissance woman and cultural pioneer, died Wednesday at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at 86.

A childhood victim of rape, she broke through silence and shame to tell her tale in "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," one of the most widely read memoirs of the 20th century.

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