Summary: author and poet whose 1970 groundbreaking memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings earned her international acclaim with its unflinching account of rape and racism in the segregated South, who was also a civil rights activist, playwright, actress, singer, dancer, and professor during her varied career, who wrote more than 30 books and won numerous awards, including the country's highest civilian honor known as the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Cause of Death: Respiratory failure
Born: April 4, 1928
Died: May 28, 2014
Location: Winston-Salem, South Carolina