Maya Angelou will have a lasting impact not only on the arts but on the sense of community in Winston-Salem.

That's the word from local people who knew and worked with her. Angelou died in her home on Wednesday. Mayor Allen Joines says he first met Angelou in the late 1970s. Over the next three decades, when he served as an assistant city manager and then as mayor, Joines got to know Angelou better. When racial tempers flared after the Darryl Hunt trials in the 1980s, Joines says Angelou was able to reach out and help heal the community.  

He says her gift was to be a calming voice during troubled times.

Mabel Robinson is the artistic director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, which produces the biennial National Black Theatre Festival. One of her most memorable times working with Angelou was during a Black Repertory production of the author's “And Still I Rise.” Robinson says Angelou will leave an indelible mark on the arts. But she will also be remembered for using the arts to break down barriers.

Angelou was an early supporter of the Black Theatre Festival. According to organizers, last year's event drew 60,000 people and had a $10 million economic impact on the Triad.

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