Rev. Jarrett Maupin, friend of Maya Angelou recalls how she insp - KMSP-TV

Rev. Jarrett Maupin, friend of Maya Angelou recalls how she inspired him

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Rev.Jarrett Maupin met Maya Angelou at just 14 years-old. He's now a congressional candidate running in District 7.

He's trying to become Arizona's first African-American member of Congress and he said Maya Angelou influenced him to do so.

"We were in an arena with 50,000 people, there were aides rushing by, there was democratic staff rushing by, but when I saw her, and she saw me, her cane went down; I dropped my bag, then she had and we had our moment together" said Jarrett Maupin.

Jarrett Maupin remembers embracing Maya Angelou at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

"I watched her from backstage take that podium and remind America about the promise of affordable housing about taking care of children about making sure people could put food on the table," said Maupin.

He first met her back in 2001 when he was working for Rev. Al Sharpton.

"When you listen to Maya Angelou talk you knew that there was a god, when you listened to Maya Angelou talk you knew that hope was real," he said.

As their friendship grew the reverend even paid her a visit at her home in Harlem.

"Going into her house was like stepping into black history, into American history, into cultures from all over the world, the Asian Pacific, islander's culture, native American culture. she was just a wellspring of knowledge and inspiration," said Maupin.

He describes his friend as an endless source of inspiration and calls her death a great loss.

"Now we have to close our eyes and imagine her voice but when I do im filled with that same hope," he said.

Maupin said that besides her artistic gifts, the greatest thing Angelou left behind was her love for people.
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