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Maya Angelou’s Harlem home sells for $4.08 million

The poet used the Harlem brownstone as a retreat from her life in North Carolina

Late poet Maya Angelou’s Harlem brownstone is officially off the market after recently being sold for $4.08 million.

The four-story home that Angelou owned for a little over a decade went up for sale at an estimated $5.095 million shortly after her death in 2014. Angelou had begun renting out the brownstone when climbing the stairs became a chore, her friends said.

According to an article in The New York Times, Angelou’s friends and singers Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford were the first to discover the brownstone at 58 West 120th St. in Mount Morris Park in Harlem, New York, in 2002. The couple put a $10,000 deposit down until Angelou purchased the shell in 2004.

“It had been vandalized and rained in; there was no floor between the first and second stories and no stairs,” she told The New York Times. “A lot of the wainscoting and the newel post were buried under debris in the backyard with nine coats of paint on them.” Angelou had the space gutted and renovated in less than a year before moving in.

The 5,640-square-foot brownstone would be spacious and comfortable enough to live in and entertain guests. With Angelou’s guidance, its high ceilings, elevator, two fireplaces and intricate details throughout the five bedrooms and eight bathrooms started to feel like home after nine months of renovations.

Having lived in New York before, specifically Brooklyn as a younger woman, the author used her new space as an escape from her life in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she lived and taught humanities courses at Wake Forest University.

“I stay away long enough so that when I come back it is new and familiar at the same time,” she said.

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.