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St. Louis mourns hometown poet Maya Angelou

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - She was born in St. Louis but hers was a literary voice revered around the world. Maya Angelou died this morning at her home in North Carolina at the age of 86.

People have been stopping all day taking pictures and decorating the star that commemorates the extraordinary life of Maya Angelou on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.  While the plaque under the star offers her basic biography, the list of her accomplishments could fill this entire block.

She was born Marguerite Johnson in 1928 and lived in a house on Hickory street until she was three-years-old. She was then sent live with her grandmother in segregated Arkansas. Four years later she was back in St. Louis where as result of being raped by her mother`s boyfriend she refused to speak for almost six years.

She later found her voice and became a voice for a generation of black women who knew her pain. Her masterpiece, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is still required reading in many schools.

Peggy LeCompte is a past central region director of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. When Maya Angelou was made an honorary member, she was there.

"Her warmth and her vitality and she was really kind of funny and humorous. We didn`t know what to expect from this dynamic historical woman. When she came in and there were 17 of us. She was just friendly and open and talked to us like she had known us all of her life." said Peggy LeCompte.

Ron Himes, who founded the St. Louis Black Rep, also met her a couple of times. He even appeared in a film she narrated.

"The things she was speaking out against, the people she was trying to give voice to are still voiceless. The conditions are still the same in so many places, in so many ways. I think until this world goes through some major changes her writing will always be relevant." said  Ron Himes.

Late Wednesday afternoon a group of local poets gathered her to remember Maya Angelou, who  was also an actress, a dancer and a singer.

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