(THE ROOT) – One of the United States' most prolific and beloved authors and poets has passed away at the age of 86. Maya Angelou was a Renaissance woman whose life inspired six autobiographies, including her internationally celebrated first memoir, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."
Ms. Angelou was found unresponsive in her Winston-Salem home. Her death comes just days after she canceled an appearance in which she was to be honored at the Major League Baseball Beacon Awards luncheon in Houston.
Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Mo., on April 4, 1928, she was 3 years old when she and her brother Bailey were sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Ark., after their parents divorced. In that small town, she saw the evil of racial discrimination as well as the richness and faith of African-American life, both of which would play critical roles in her life and writing.
There are unpopular opinions, and then there are unpopular black opinions. Have you ever been talking to your friends and let one slip? Maybe you've come out as anti-"Scandal" or, worse, turned the station when a Beyoncé song came on. The backlash that can come from speaking your truth is enough to make you worry that your proverbial black card will be revoked.
But when we asked our readers to be brave and tell us what, in their experience, #notallblackpeoplelike, they answered. From corn bread to "Real Housewives of Atlanta" to religion, these preferences pushed back on the stereotypes about African Americans. The lesson learned (again) is that the black community has never been a monolith. If you have an seemingly unpopular black opinion, you might actually be in good company.
Black women constantly complain about the dearth of "eligible" black men to date and marry. Noted sociologist William Julius Wilson has argued that "the increasing levels of non-marriage and female-headed households is a manifestation of the high levels of economic dislocation experienced by lower-class black men in recent decades."
He further argued that, "When joblessness is combined with high rates of incarceration and premature mortality among black men; it becomes clearer that there are fewer marriageable black men relative to black women who are able to provide the economic support needed to sustain a family."
Then you add in the unfortunate increase in homosexuality within the black community and you have a recipe for disaster.
"Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today," Malcolm X stated during the Organization of Afro-American Unity's founding forum at Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom on June 28, 1964.
A caravan of grassroots activists trekked to the gravesites of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, N.Y., on the morning of May 19th to commemorate his 89th physical day anniversary. There they were met by other admirers, some of whom had traveled from all over the country.
"This is a sacred ceremony paying respect to a martyr that died in the revolution," said moderator James Small at the beginning of the commemorative event, which was begun by Malcolm's sister Ella Collins in 1965. "He gave his life on behalf of those of us who now live. One of the reasons for coming is to say thank you and show respect to that spirit."
When Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III of Dallas learned that the NAACP Board of Directors had chosen Cornell William Brooks over him, attorney Barbara R. Arnwine and several other better-known candidates to succeed outgoing president Benjamin Todd Jealous, his response was "Who?"
And he wasn't the only one responding that way.
In an interview from Florida, where trustees had just made their selection, a board member who asked not to be identified by name said, "We turned the whole nation into a collection of owls," he said. "When they learned of our decision, everyone in the country was saying, "Who? Who? Who?"
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