GUILDERLAND, N.Y. -- Following Maya Angelou's death, Time Warner Cable News spoke with a local professor who knew her.
Dr. Leonard Slade, Jr. says the famous author saw promise in him and encouraged him to continue his work as a writer. He's published 17 books of poetry so far, and 22 books total.
After reading Slade's book "Sweet Solitude", Angelou said, "I am the better for it, the wiser for it, and the happier for it."
He says that was the inspiration that's kept him writing still today, and says the admiration she showed for him was nothing compared to how he felt about her.
"She was a very special woman, and kind, and quite prolific as a writer. One of her works was no the NY Times Best Seller's list for two years. That's a long time to be on the best seller's list," said Slade.
Slade says that while he's saddened by Angelou's death, she would want people to celebrate her life by continuing to appreciate her work.