ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – One St. Louisan has shared a friendship with Maya Angelou for 50 years.

Art Holliday spoke to Alice Windom, who knew Angelou before she became famous. Windom says it's a friendship that she cherishes…and she also has a challenge for those who haven't read Angelou's many writings.

RELATED: A look at Maya Angelou's St. Louis home

"Scarcely a day passes that somebody doesn't say 'do you know who you look like?' and I always make them tell me, and it's always Maya," she said.

She and Angelou could have been sisters. And in a way, they were.

During their 50 year friendship, Windom watched her talented friend become one of the most famous people in the world.

"I was fortunate enough to go to the birthday parties that Oprah Winfrey gave for her every five years," she said.

RELATED: 13 of Maya Angelou's best quotes

Windom met Angelou in Ghana in the 1960s, and that's when she took a well-known photo of Maya and Malcolm.

"I had no idea how famous she was going to become," she said, "so I'm very glad I took the picture, and that she liked it."

Windom says Angelou's seminal book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" had tremendous impact on women.

OBITUARY: Maya Angelou dead at 86

"It was one of the first books where a woman talked about having been molested sexually as a youngster," she said. "People were not talking about that."

Windom had a word of advice for those who admire Angelou, her talented friend.

"She left a talented legacy, and I hope that people who admire her will read her work," she said.

Read or Share this story: