Maya Angelou Biography

Topics: Writer

Kara Francois 13 April 2012 Marguerite Annie Johnson was born in St. Louis, Missouri on 4th of April in 1928. Maya Angelou is a nickname that was given to her as a young child from her brother Bailey. He called her “Maya” instead of “my sister. ” At the age of three Ms. Angelou’s parents divorced. Her and her brother Bailey was sent to a Stamps, Arkansas to live with their grandmother. While living in Stamps, as a young girl she experienced racial discrimination.

During the time Maya Angelou was living in the south she absorbed the deep religious faith and old-fashioned courtesy of traditional African Americans.

When Maya Angelou was seven she was sexually molested by her mother’s boyfriend in Chicago. After telling her brother about the attack a few days later, she overheard the news that her attacker had suffered a violent death. When Ms. Angelou heard that her uncle had killed the man that raped her, she felt that her words had killed the man.

Even at this young age she was convinced that words could be powerful. Maya Angelou fell silent and did not speak for five years. Maya and her brother were rejoined with their mother in San Francisco when Maya was 13 years of age, It was with poetry that she finally found her voice again.

Who Is Maya Angelou Biography

Ms. Angelou won a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School while attending Mission High School. She dropped out of school in her teens to become San Francisco’s first African American female cable car conductor.

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Later she then returned to high school. At the age of sixteen she gave birth to her son Guy. Maya Angelou was a single mother and supported her family by working as a waiter and a cook. The first book Ms. Angelou wrote was, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, it deals with growing up in this segregated town.

This book is still considered controversial by many and was banned by many schools when it was originally published. It mostly deals with sex, racism and many mature issues. The second autobiography she wrote was, Gather Together in My Name, deals with this period of her life. In 1954-55, with the production of the opera Porgy and Bess Ms. Angelou toured Europe. Dr. Angelou danced with Alvin Ailey on television in 1957, studied modern dance with Martha Graham and recorded Calypso Lady as her first album. She moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, wrote and performed

Cabaret for Freedom and also acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks during 1958. Ms. Angelou read and studied constantly, mastering five different languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Fanti a West African language. She met with Malcolm X while in Ghana in 1964. She then returned to America to help him build an Organization of African American Unity. Shortly after her arrival Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after the assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sked her to serve as a Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She fought along with Mr. King for civil rights in 1960. Eight years later King’s assassination, falling on her birthday left her devastated. After moving to Cairo, Egypt, she became the associate editor of The Arab Observer, the only English-language news weekly in the Middle East. In 1971, she was the first black woman to have an original screenplay, Georgia, Georgia, produced. Her script was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

She has received many honors including a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her works of poetry Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Die (1971) and Still I Rise (1976). She is also a favorite among presidents. She was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the Bicentennial Commission and by President Jimmy Carter to the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. A hometown president, Bill Clinton, requested her to write and deliver a poem for his 1993 presidential inauguration because she is his “favorite living poet. For the occasion she wrote On the Pulse of the Morning which soon became a bestselling book. Work cited Angelico, F.. “Maya Angelou Bio. ” Encyclopedia of world biography. N. p. , 2011. Web. 16 Mar 2012. <http://www. notablebiographies. com/An-Ba/Angelou-Maya. html>. Angelou, M.. “Angelou, Maya. ” Maya angelou: Global renaissance woman. Penguin Creative, 2012. Web. 16 Mar 2012. <http://mayaangelou. com/bio/>. Reynolds, W. R.. “Maya Angelou. ” American academy of achievement. American Academy of Achievement, 2011. Web. 16 Mar 2012.

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Maya Angelou Biography. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

Maya Angelou Biography
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