Maya Angelou mourns death of poet Amiri Baraka

Updated at: 01/11/2014 3:57 AM

(AP) NEW YORK - NEW YORK (AP) — Maya Angelou is mourning her friend Amiri Baraka, remembering him as a vital poet whose private persona differed greatly from his fiery public image.

She said by telephone on Friday, "He was very kind."

Baraka and Angelou had known each other for more than 40 years. He died Thursday in Newark, N.J., at age 79.

Angelou was among the many artists influenced by Baraka's work and political and cultural activism. She says Baraka had great courage — not only to speak out "for all of us" but to admit mistakes and to change. She calls it a quality Baraka shared with one of his heroes, Malcolm X.

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