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The word extraordinary is often overused, but it’s appropriate for Maya Angelou.

Abandoned by her parents at three, she grew up amid racism in Depression-era Arkansas, was raped at seven and spent five years as a mute but went on to be one of the most important voices in contemporary America.

A trail-blazing activist who campaigned alongside Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Maya was a writer and performer who changed the way America thought about race.

This fascinating Imagine profile includes an interview with Maya just before her death in 2014, and contributions from Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.