May Angelou still rises—that's what members of Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network said at a rally held to remember the poet. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
The woman the world thought of as a great poet once lived here, at 58 West 120th Street in Harlem, but those who knew Maya Angelou personally, say at her basic core she was a freedom fighter—one who played an active role in this community.
"Maya Angelou was an organizer in New York, head of the chapter of Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference and helped with the formation of Malcom X's Organization of African American Unity," said Reverend Al Sharpton.
Sharpton dedicated his weekly rally at the National Action Network headquarters to Angelou, who's life he says inspired and challenged him to be better, to speak up for others.
"No matter what your background is or is not, it is not an excuse for you not to achieve greatness," Sharpton said.
Reverend Sharpton wasn't the only one who felt a personal connection to Angelou.
Many said the poet forever changed them.
"She really is the example, the epitome of strong black womanhood and there is no other. We're blessed that we have her gift that she left with us," said one mourner.
"She's a poet, she's a activist, she's a mentor, she's a leader. She's someone to look up to, someone to admire—her poems, her struggles," said another.
To show their appreciation, after the rally members of the group made their way to Angelou's former home.
"Here in Harlem, we love her and that's our queen and that's why we're going to lay the wreath down in front of her house just to let the world know and let Harlem know that we love Maya Angelou," said one mourner.
They laid flowers, took pictures and celebrated her life.
They say while Angelou is physically not here, she'll always live in Harlem. and each promise to keep her memory and what she stood for alive.