Transcript for Nation Remembers Poet Maya Angelou
And all day long a nation has been remembering a force of nature. An American original. Maya Angelou died at the age of 86. The people's poet and her life a kind of blue print for rising up in the face of the impossible. ABC's Byron Pitts looks back. There is no hiding place down here! Reporter: Most of us hope to live one good life. Maya Angelou lived many. I went to the rock to hide my face and the rock cried out no hiding place. Reporter: With that tenor's voice -- her gift for words -- The horizon leans forward offering you space to place new steps of change. Reporter: She brought chills to a nation at president Clinton's inauguration in '93. Ms. Calypso herself Maya Angelou. Reporter: She spoke six languages. Won three grammys, author of 36 books. It was her best seller. An instant classic. That made her not just a voice for black America but all who know struggle. ? I will go ? I shall go ? ? I'll see what the end is going to be ? Reporter: The end came at 86. A life that would have crushed a lesser spirit. At 7 she was raped by a mother's boyfriend when she told the man was murdered. I thought my voice killed him. That was my 7.5-year-old logic. So I stopped speaking. Reporter: She did not speak for five years. It was her mother who helped her find her voice. She said I think you are the greatest woman I ever met. And I thought she's right. Suppose I really am somebody. Reporter: A somebody hurt by name but always called upon hope instead. But still like dust, I'll rise. Reporter: For nearly a half century she helped people rise, black and white, men and women. History will remember her words all with the heart will cling to their meaning. Byron Pitts ABC news, New York.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.