Celebrated poet and author Maya Angelou, who was born in Missouri, has been watching images from her home in North Carolina of Joplin, Missouri, staggering from the recent tornado’s deadly blow.

Angelou believes catastrophes such as the one in Missouri reveal our common humanity — we are united in concern and empathy and perform extraordinary deeds.

At least 125 people died in Joplin when the tornado hit Sunday, the deadliest such event in the U.S. in the 61 years since modern record-keeping began.

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