Obama: ‘We celebrate the dawn that Maya Angelou helped bring’

“Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.” – Guy B. Johnson, Angelou’s son, posted on Facebook

“With a kind word and a strong embrace, she had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have something to offer. And while Maya’s day may be done, we take comfort in knowing that her song will continue, ‘flung up to heaven’ – and we celebrate the dawn that Maya Angelou helped bring.” – President Barack Obama

“... It didn’t matter who or what you were when she walked in the room even the silverware got quiet. She was a queen. She was majestic. She was our great humanitarian. She taught me so many things about surviving, struggling, and the resilience of the human heart. In this moment of stunning loss it feels like a great human library has burned to the ground.” – Nikky Finney, poet and John H. Bennett Jr. Chair of Southern Literature and Creative Writing at the University of South Carolina

“Maya Angelou has been a towering figure – at Wake Forest and in American culture. She had a profound influence in civil rights and racial reconciliation. We will miss profoundly her lyrical voice and always keen insights.” – Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch

“Dr. Maya Angelou was a giant in every endeavor she chose to devote her talents. She counseled presidents and historic figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King. Yet, she’ll be remembered most for her compassion for people around the world, regardless of their station in life. Maya Angelou was a tremendous source of pride for North Carolina and her adopted state is grieving her loss.” – N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

“The poems and stories she wrote and read to us in her commanding voice were gifts of wisdom and wit, courage and grace. I will always be grateful for her electrifying reading of ‘On the Pulse of Morning’ at my first inaugural, and even more for all the years of friendship that followed. Now she sings the songs the Creator gave to her when the river ‘and the tree and the stone were one.’ ” – Former President Bill Clinton

“What stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she lived her life. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.” – Oprah Winfrey

“She has much to teach this generation and generations unborn about what it means to be an authentic person and the power of the genuine. When she spoke, people listened. When she wrote, people read, and that happened because she lived and she was the word that became flesh and dwelled among us.” – The Rev. Jesse Jackson

“From collaborating on two songs on my soundtrack for ‘For Love of Ivy’ in 1968 to delivering her poem ‘Pulse of the Morning’ during the Clinton Inaugural in 1992, working with Maya always brought joy and love. As an author and poet, Maya Angelou’s ability to channel God’s voice and express the feelings deep within all of humanity will never be matched by another. She gave us words when we could find none, and helped us to see clearly when the light was dimmest.” – Quincy Jones

“Maya, a dear friend, helped change our hearts and minds about the African-American experience in the United States, bringing it to vivid life, and her spirit and energy crossed all borders and deeply affected readers around the world.” – Robert Loomis, her longtime editor at Random House

“My only personal interaction with her was at Fresh Market. I was often in a rush, dragging small children with me. She was usually in the produce section, squeezing or smelling something. She would smile at us. Her energy told me to slow down, enjoy the moment, choose wisely. Godspeed Dr. Angelou.” – Janice Jennings on mayaangelou.wfu.edu

April Bethea, Elizabeth Leland, Jane Stancill and The Associated Press