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Maya Angelou: Award-winning poet and author, civil rights activist

A revered North Carolina poet laureate, world-famous author and civil rights champion who made an impact on American culture and society for more than 50 years, Marguerite Annie Johnson — known to the world as Maya Angelou — is best known for her multipart autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in 1970, which documents the early years of her childhood in the Jim Crow South.

  • As a civil rights activist, Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Angelou also served on two presidential committees, for Gerald Ford in 1975 and for Jimmy Carter in 1977.

Angelou’s work empowered the African American community and exposed her readers to the joys, pain, and complexities of the Black experience. In particular, Angelou encouraged Black women and girls to embrace their power and give voice to their truths. 

As a whole, Angelou continues to influence, inspire, and enrich generation after generation through her decades of writing and activism. 


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NC Democrats Propose State Constitutional Amendment Expanding Public Records Access

Earlier this month, Democrats in the North Carolina General Assembly introduced House Bill 1075 and Senate Bill 911 that would amend the state constitution to guarantee the right to access public records and meetings. The proposal is a direct challenge to a provision Republican lawmakers added to last year’s state budget that allows them to hide legislative records from public scrutiny.