Maya Angelou
Poet, dancer, producer, playwright, director, author
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly acclaimed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, tells of her first seventeen years. It brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award.
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Bill And Hillary Clinton Honor Maya Angelou: ‘We Are All In Her Debt’
Huffington Post - 5 days
President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were in Harlem, New York on Thursday to honor the legendary Dr. Maya Angelou days before the release of a new documentary on the late poet’s life and legacy. The Clintons spoke onstage at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which was recently designated a national historic museum, at an event celebrating release of the documentary, “American Masters ― Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise.” The film, which debuts on PBS on Tuesday, delivers a remarkable inside look at who Angelou was as well as her impact and influence prior to and long after her May 2014 passing.  Watch their remarks below:  The Clintons have been friends of Angelou’s for decades and are featured in the documentary. They were recognized at the event on Thursday by Colin Johnson, Angelou’s grandson, who praised the Clintons for their support and love for her over the years. Johnson also presented the Clintons with a p ...
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What Happens When A President Doesn't Like To Read? We're Already Finding Out.
Huffington Post - 5 days
Back what seems like years ago, when former President of the United States Barack Obama surprised Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he invited the Vice President to step up to the podium and give an off-the-cuff acceptance speech. Biden proceeded to, from memory, quote a line from Harry Truman, a lyric from Irish poet Seamus Heaney, and a passage from the Talmud. In the moment, it was a brief but stark reminder of what was about to leave the White House – an administration that valued literature, led by one of the biggest book worms the Oval Office has ever seen - and what was about to hurl itself in. The new occupant, to say the least, does not share the same passion. Donald Trump doesn’t read books, and it’s not something he’s embarrassed about. When Megyn Kelly asked him during the campaign what the last book he read was, Trump responded “I read passages, I read areas, chapters, I don’t have the time.” The fact is, the words of other people don’t matter too muc ...
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Anger And Trolls In America
Huffington Post - 7 days
The only way to stay sane these days is to avoid the news as much as possible. Seeing the dark forces being in power is a scary thing, but the last thing I will do is to let fear and frustration overwhelm or paralyze me. "Be angry" I told my daughter when she was sad because of what someone had said or done in school. Many girls learn that being angry is a bad thing. I always told her that it is not. If someone steps on you, your values, your beliefs and your rights, or those of your sisters and brothers, being angry is not bad. It is necessary. I have to admit that seeing a bunch of self-righteous, middle-aged white men signing a document aimed to decide what women can and cannot do with their bodies, has made me angry beyond belief. And even worse; it made me realize that I am living in a country heading towards fundamentalism. Scary as hell, but I refuse to let it ...
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Valentine's Day Knows No Boundaries
Huffington Post - 12 days
Valentine's Day is fast have only four days to buy that something special for your special someone. This someone could be a long-time love of your life, or perhaps someone you have fond feelings.....but I invite you to think a little further with me Love and caring comes in many forms....someone down the street, a state away, further away....perhaps a country away...I have been lucky enough to have close friends around the world, and they will be in my thoughts, prayers, perhaps receive a card....but there are those who go a little further. They express their love and caring for people they don't know....they take personal time to go to neighbors they don't know...I know of one special man who takes personal vacation to travel to countries where he is unknown, but for whom he sends his valentine to others who will never remember his name, but what he DID. He helps to provide that most physical basic need we all must have....clean potable water. Grandmother ...
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"Maya Angelou - And Still I Rise": The Caged Bird Sings!
Huffington Post - 19 days
Directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack have gifted us with a captivating, well-crafted, thoroughly entertaining documentary about the extraordinary writer, actress, singer, poet and political activist Maya Angelou. "Maya Angelou - And Still I Rise" is not just a biography. It is an artistic, social and political history of our time. The directors have captured the spirit of one of the most vital, self made creative artists of the Twentieth Century. We apprehend Maya (or Ms. Angelou as she sometimes liked to be called!) through vintage pictures, film and the words of her contemporaries: President Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, her son Guy Johnson, the rapper Common, film director John Singleton and the actors Louis Gossett, Jr., Alfre Woodward and Cicely Tyson. The film deftly captures the essence of a woman whose life and creativity distill main themes of the American experience from slavery to post industrialism. Maya's life had the dramatic u ...
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Stop Pretending and Start Living
Huffington Post - about 1 month
Motherhood. The great world of pretenders. You want Golden Globes and Academy Awards - ask us overachieving mothers. The ones who try to do it all, make it all, and fix it all. Because that's what mothers do isn't it? We pretend. We hide. Or we fall apart; I don't know very many in between moms. And I'm one of those great pretenders. Or I use to be. I walked into 2017 with one resolution. To stop pretending. To stop looking like I had everything together. To fall apart more publicly and create space in my life for imperfection. To genuinely stop chasing this "high" of having it all together. Because this is me over here trying to show you how great I am. It's really about control - isn't everything? But before I acknowledge that; let me humbly share my home-made gluten free vegan muffin recipe that I make each night; or pictures of my home in which I'm organized and have "Konmari-ed" the shit out of every drawer. There's nothing wrong with any of those things; it's the motive behind ...
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THIRTEEN's American Masters Presents Exclusive U.S. Broadcast Premiere of Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, February 21 on PBS During Black History Month
Yahoo News - about 1 month
PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Distinctly referred to as "a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture," Dr. Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928-May 28, 2014) led a prolific life. As a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer, she inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. Best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Random House), she gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. ...
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A Vote For Jeff Sessions Is A Vote Against Freedom And Equality
Huffington Post - about 1 month
Donald J. Trump ran one of the most divisive and bigoted campaigns in modern history. In the days following his election, many hoped that the president-elect would turn toward unity. Instead, he has shown that he will govern just as he campaigned: by normalizing racism, discrimination and intolerance. There is no greater example of this disturbing reality than Senator Jeff Sessions' nomination to serve as our nation's Attorney General. Maya Angelou once said, "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time." Year after year, Senator Sessions has shown us who he is. THIS WEEK I sat through hours of Senator Sessions' confirmation hearing, as he sought to run away and obscure his history of racism, xenophobia and sexism. But his actions speak for themselves. Senator Sessions once wrongfully prosecuted a group of civil rights activists in Alabama including Albert Turner, a close aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, who led marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bri ...
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In 25 Years Of Shows, This Is The Life Lesson That Affected Oprah The Most
Huffington Post - 2 months
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); In 25 years of hosting “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Oprah experienced more than a few “aha moments.” But there was one particular life lesson, she says, that’s always stood out from the rest. “It was one man’s definition of forgiveness that changed my life,” Oprah says. That man was Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky, and he appeared on an episode of “The Oprah Show” that aired on January 4, 1990. During that show, Jampolsky asserted that the secret to happiness was forg ...
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The Arts Don't Just Heal, They Also Unify and Inspire Action
Huffington Post - 2 months
I have been playing a lot of piano lately - my antidote for when I am feeling low, or my energy source for when I am working through challenges. This election season has brought to light challenges in our country, divides that I have always believed the arts can bridge. And so I find myself sitting at the keyboard and playing tunes by artists I admire like Bob Dylan, or trying out some dark Leonard Cohen pieces on guitar, or writing some of my own poetry in order to help me get from one state of mind to another. It also makes me imagine how to better convey the power of the arts during these difficult times as part of the solution for our country, much like my own art does for me. It doesn't matter whether I am great at it. It matters that I immerse myself in this different creative and healing space. The American poet William Carlos Williams once wrote that "it is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there" - the line has always ...
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Just 10 Insightful Quotes On Gratitude For When You Need A Boost
Huffington Post - 3 months
Thankfulness may be the last thing on everyone’s minds right now, but keeping up the time-honored Thanksgiving tradition serves some benefits. Research shows gratitude can reduce stress, improve sleep and more. It also can make you more emotionally resilient, which can help in the face of tough times. Still not convinced it’ll give you a boost? Enter these legendary writers, who have some of the wisest words on cultivating an attitude of gratitude. The quotes are here to remind you that there’s so much in the world to appreciate ― and you’ll be healthier if you are able to do it. Check out the sage insight below: 1. “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” —Maya Angelou 2. “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” —Charles Dickens 3. 4. “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because a ...
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10 Reasons Nurses "Strengthen Our Core" - and why I owe my life to the WOCN Society
Huffington Post - 3 months
Published on "Nothing can dim the light which shines from within." ― Maya Angelou I was thrilled to present at the Eastern Regional WOCN Conference, where the theme was "Strengthening Our Core." Its a pretty ironic title for someone who literally doesn't have a stomach. And I couldn't be more grateful, thanks to a lovely group of nurses: WOCN Nurses. The WOCN Society is a professional nursing society which supports its members by promoting educational, clinical and research opportunities to advance the practice and guide the delivery of expert health care to individuals with wounds, ostomies and incontinence. What does a wound care nurse do? "Wound care nurses assess, treat, and create care plans for patients with complex wounds, ostomies, and/or continence conditions. Every nurse in their career will tend to a wound at some point; certified wound care nurses, however, demonstrate a high level of knowledge and expertise in the field, and often act as ...
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'Tattoo Tights' Make Your Legs Look Inked In The Cutest Way
Huffington Post - 3 months
A cool pair of tights is one of the best ways to warm up in winter weather. And whether or not you’ve always wanted to get inked, “tattoo tights” are worth trying on for size. This trend is especially popular with Etsy vendors, who both hand-paint and print regular legwear for an oddly realistic tattoo result. Designs range from flowers and birds to sketches and Maya Angelou prose, from pale skin tones to colors. Tattoo tights are mostly available from just a handful of online vendors, whose lack of diverse “nude” color options leaves a lot to be desired in the way of matching darker skin tones. Silvana Ilieva, founder of Tatul tights, plans to add more colors to her line soon, she told HuffPost. We can’t wait.  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Maya Angelou
  • 2014
    Age 85
    On May 29, 2014, Mount Zion Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, of which Angelou was a member for 30 years, held a public memorial service to honor Angelou.
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  • 2013
    Age 84
    Her books "stretch over time and place", from Arkansas to Africa and back to the U.S., and take place from the beginnings of World War II to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. She published her seventh autobiography Mom & Me & Mom in 2013, at the age of 85.
    More Details Hide Details Critics have tended to judge Angelou's subsequent autobiographies "in light of the first", with Caged Bird receiving the highest praise. Angelou wrote five collections of essays, which writer Hilton Als called her "wisdom books" and "homilies strung together with autobiographical texts". Angelou used the same editor throughout her writing career, Robert Loomis, an executive editor at Random House; he retired in 2011 and has been called "one of publishing's hall of fame editors." Angelou said regarding Loomis: "We have a relationship that's kind of famous among publishers". Angelou's long and extensive career also included poetry, plays, screenplays for television and film, directing, acting, and public speaking. She was a prolific writer of poetry; her volume Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and she was chosen by President Bill Clinton to recite her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" during his inauguration in 1993.
    In 2013, Angelou told her friend Oprah Winfrey that she had studied courses offered by the Unity Church, which were spiritually significant to her.
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    In 2013, at the age of 85, Angelou published the seventh autobiography in her series, titled Mom & Me & Mom, that focuses on her relationship with her mother.
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    Her final speaking engagement at the university was in late 2013.
    More Details Hide Details Beginning in the 1990s, Angelou actively participated in the lecture circuit in a customized tour bus, something she continued into her eighties.
  • 2011
    Age 82
    In 2011, Angelou served as a consultant for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. She spoke out in opposition to a paraphrase of a quotation by King that appeared on the memorial, saying, "The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit", and demanded that it be changed.
    More Details Hide Details Eventually, the paraphrase was removed.
  • 2010
    Age 81
    In late 2010, Angelou donated her personal papers and career memorabilia to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.
    More Details Hide Details They consisted of over 340 boxes of documents that featured her handwritten notes on yellow legal pads for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, a 1982 telegram from Coretta Scott King, fan mail, and personal and professional correspondence from colleagues such as her editor Robert Loomis.
  • 2008
    Age 79
    Angelou campaigned for the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential primaries, giving her public support to Senator Hillary Clinton.
    More Details Hide Details In the run-up to the January Democratic primary in South Carolina, the Clinton campaign ran ads featuring Angelou's endorsement. The ads were part of the campaign's efforts to rally support in the Black community; but Obama won the South Carolina primary, finishing 29 points ahead of Clinton and taking 80% of the Black vote. When Clinton's campaign ended, Angelou put her support behind Senator Barack Obama, who went on to win the election and become the first African-American president of the United States. She stated, "We are growing up beyond the idiocies of racism and sexism."
  • 2004
    Age 75
    She combined her cooking and writing skills in her 2004 book Hallelujah!
    More Details Hide Details The Welcome Table, which featured 73 recipes, many of which she learned from her grandmother and mother, accompanied by 28 vignettes. She followed up with her second cookbook, Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart in 2010, which focused on weight loss and portion control. Beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou used the same "writing ritual" for many years. She would wake early in the morning and check into a hotel room, where the staff was instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She would write on legal pads while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to play solitaire, Roget's Thesaurus, and the Bible, and would leave by the early afternoon. She would average 10–12 pages of written material a day, which she edited down to three or four pages in the evening. Angelou went through this process to "enchant" herself, and as she said in a 1989 interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, "relive the agony, the anguish, the Sturm und Drang." She placed herself back in the time she wrote about, even traumatic experiences like her rape in Caged Bird, in order to "tell the human truth" about her life. Angelou stated that she played cards in order to get to that place of enchantment and in order to access her memories more effectively.
  • 2002
    Age 73
    More than thirty years after Angelou began writing her life story, she completed her sixth autobiography A Song Flung Up to Heaven, in 2002.
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  • 2000
    Age 71
    In 2000, she created a successful collection of products for Hallmark, including greeting cards and decorative household items.
    More Details Hide Details She responded to critics who charged her with being too commercial by stating that "the enterprise was perfectly in keeping with her role as 'the people's poet'".
  • 1996
    Age 67
    Also in 1996, she collaborated with R&B artists Ashford & Simpson on seven of the eleven tracks of their album Been Found.
    More Details Hide Details The album was responsible for three of Angelou's only Billboard chart appearances.
    Angelou achieved her goal of directing a feature film in 1996, Down in the Delta, which featured actors such as Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes.
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  • 1995
    Age 66
    In June 1995, she delivered what Richard Long called her "second 'public' poem", entitled "A Brave and Startling Truth", which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.
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  • 1994
    Age 65
    She served on two presidential committees, and was awarded the Spingarn Medal in 1994, the National Medal of Arts in 2000, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
    More Details Hide Details Angelou was awarded over fifty honorary degrees. Angelou's autobiographies have been used in narrative and multicultural approaches in teacher education. Jocelyn A. Glazier, a professor at George Washington University, has trained teachers how to "talk about race" in their classrooms with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name. According to Glazier, Angelou's use of understatement, self-mockery, humor, and irony have left readers of Angelou's autobiographies unsure of what she left out and how they should respond to the events she described. Angelou's depictions of her experiences of racism have forced white readers to explore their feelings about race and their own "privileged status". Glazier found that critics have focused on where Angelou fits within the genre of African-American autobiography and on her literary techniques, but readers have tended to react to her storytelling with "surprise, particularly when they enter the text with certain expectations about the genre of autobiography".
  • 1993
    Age 64
    Reviewer Elsie B. Washington, most likely due to President Clinton's choice of Angelou to recite her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at his 1993 inauguration, called her "the black woman's poet laureate".
    More Details Hide Details Sales of the paperback version of her books and poetry rose by 300–600% the week after Angelou's recitation. Random House, which published the poem later that year, had to reprint 400,000 copies of all her books to keep up with the demand. They sold more of her books in January 1993 than they did in all of 1992, accounting for a 1200% increase. Angelou famously said, in response to criticism regarding using the details of her life in her work, "I agree with Balzac and 19th-century writers, black and white, who say, 'I write for money'". Younge, speaking after the publication of Angelou's third book of essays, Letter to My Daughter (2008), has said, "For the last couple of decades she has merged her various talents into a kind of performance art—issuing a message of personal and social uplift by blending poetry, song and conversation".
    In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.
    More Details Hide Details Her recitation resulted in more fame and recognition for her previous works, and broadened her appeal "across racial, economic, and educational boundaries". The recording of the poem won a Grammy Award.
    In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" (1993) at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.
    More Details Hide Details With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of Black culture. Attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries, but her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. Angelou's major works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics have characterized them as autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel. Marguerite Annie Johnson was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928, the second child of Bailey Johnson, a doorman and navy dietitian, and Vivian (Baxter) Johnson, a nurse and card dealer. Angelou's older brother, Bailey Jr., nicknamed Marguerite "Maya", derived from "My" or "Mya Sister". When Angelou was three and her brother four, their parents' "calamitous marriage" ended, and their father sent them to Stamps, Arkansas, alone by train, to live with their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson. In "an astonishing exception" to the harsh economics of African Americans of the time, Angelou's grandmother prospered financially during the Great Depression and World War II because the general store she owned sold needed basic commodities and because "she made wise and honest investments".
  • 1991
    Age 62
    Angelou's mother Vivian Baxter died in 1991 and her brother Bailey Johnson, Jr., died in 2000 after a series of strokes; both were important figures in her life and her books.
    More Details Hide Details In 1981, the mother of her son Guy's child disappeared with Angelou's grandson; it took four years to find him. In 2009, the gossip website TMZ erroneously reported that Angelou had been hospitalized in Los Angeles when she was alive and well in St. Louis, which resulted in rumors of her death and according to Angelou, concern among her friends and family worldwide.
  • 1981
    Age 52
    She returned to the southern United States in 1981 because she felt she had to come to terms with her past there, and despite having no bachelor's degree, accepted the lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she was one of only a few full-time professors.
    More Details Hide Details From that point on, she considered herself "a teacher who writes". Angelou taught a variety of subjects that reflected her interests, including philosophy, ethics, theology, science, theater, and writing. The Winston-Salem Journal reported that even though she made many friends on campus, "she never quite lived down all of the criticism from people who thought she was more of a celebrity than an intellect and an overpaid figurehead". The last course she taught at Wake Forest was in 2011, but she was planning to teach another course in late 2014.
    In 1981, Angelou and du Feu divorced.
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  • 1977
    Age 48
    In 1977, Angelou appeared in a supporting role in the television mini-series Roots.
    More Details Hide Details She was given a multitude of awards during this period, including over thirty honorary degrees from colleges and universities from all over the world. In the late 1970s, Angelou met Oprah Winfrey when Winfrey was a TV anchor in Baltimore, Maryland; Angelou would later become Winfrey's close friend and mentor.
  • 1973
    Age 44
    She was "a reluctant actor", and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1973 for her role in Look Away.
    More Details Hide Details As a theater director, in 1988 she undertook a revival of Errol John's play Moon on a Rainbow Shawl at the Almeida Theatre in London.
    Angelou married Welsh carpenter and ex-husband of Germaine Greer, Paul du Feu, in San Francisco in 1973.
    More Details Hide Details Over the next ten years, as Gillespie has stated, "She Angelou had accomplished more than many artists hope to achieve in a lifetime". Angelou worked as a composer, writing for singer Roberta Flack, and composing movie scores. She wrote articles, short stories, TV scripts, documentaries, autobiographies, and poetry, produced plays, and was named visiting professor at several colleges and universities.
  • 1972
    Age 43
    Angelou's Georgia, Georgia, produced by a Swedish film company and filmed in Sweden, the first screenplay written by a black woman, was released in 1972.
    More Details Hide Details She also wrote the film's soundtrack, despite having very little additional input in the filming of the movie.
  • 1968
    Age 39
    Also in 1968, inspired at a dinner party she attended with Baldwin, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and his wife Judy, and challenged by Random House editor Robert Loomis, she wrote her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in 1969, which brought her international recognition and acclaim.
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    In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. asked Angelou to organize a march.
    More Details Hide Details She agreed, but "postpones again", and in what Gillespie calls "a macabre twist of fate", he was assassinated on her 40th birthday (April 4). Devastated again, she was encouraged out of her depression by her friend James Baldwin. As Gillespie states, "If 1968 was a year of great pain, loss, and sadness, it was also the year when America first witnessed the breadth and depth of Maya Angelou's spirit and creative genius". Despite having almost no experience, she wrote, produced, and narrated Blacks, Blues, Black!, a ten-part series of documentaries about the connection between blues music and black Americans' African heritage, and what Angelou called the "Africanisms still current in the U.S." for National Educational Television, the precursor of PBS.
  • 1967
    Age 38
    She acted in and wrote plays, and returned to New York in 1967.
    More Details Hide Details She met her lifelong friend Rosa Guy and renewed her friendship with James Baldwin, whom she had met in Paris in the 1950s and called "my brother", during this time. Her friend Jerry Purcell provided Angelou with a stipend to support her writing.
  • 1965
    Age 36
    She worked as a market researcher in Watts and witnessed the riots in the summer of 1965.
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    Angelou returned to the U.S. in 1965 to help him build a new civil rights organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity; he was assassinated shortly afterward.
    More Details Hide Details Devastated and adrift, she joined her brother in Hawaii, where she resumed her singing career, and then moved back to Los Angeles to focus on her writing career.
    Angelou remained in Accra for his recovery and ended up staying there until 1965.
    More Details Hide Details She became an administrator at the University of Ghana, and was active in the African-American expatriate community. She was a feature editor for The African Review, a freelance writer for the Ghanaian Times, wrote and broadcast for Radio Ghana, and worked and performed for Ghana's National Theatre. She performed in a revival of The Blacks in Geneva and Berlin. In Accra, she became close friends with Malcolm X during his visit in the early 1960s.
  • 1962
    Age 33
    In 1962, her relationship with Make ended, and she and Guy moved to Accra, Ghana, he to attend college, but he was seriously injured in an automobile accident.
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  • 1961
    Age 32
    Also in 1961, she met South African freedom fighter Vusumzi Make; they never officially married.
    More Details Hide Details She and her son Guy moved with Make to Cairo, where Angelou worked as an associate editor at the weekly English-language newspaper The Arab Observer.
    In 1961, Angelou performed in Jean Genet's play The Blacks, along with Abbey Lincoln, Roscoe Lee Brown, James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett, Godfrey Cambridge, and Cicely Tyson.
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  • 1960
    Age 31
    In 1960, after meeting civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and hearing him speak, she and Killens organized "the legendary" Cabaret for Freedom to benefit the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and she was named SCLC's Northern Coordinator.
    More Details Hide Details According to scholar Lyman B. Hagen, her contributions to civil rights as a fundraiser and SCLC organizer were successful and "eminently effective". Angelou also began her pro-Castro and anti-apartheid activism during this time.
  • 1959
    Age 30
    Angelou met novelist John Oliver Killens in 1959 and, at his urging, moved to New York to concentrate on her writing career.
    More Details Hide Details She joined the Harlem Writers Guild, where she met several major African-American authors, including John Henrik Clarke, Rosa Guy, Paule Marshall, and Julian Mayfield, and was published for the first time.
  • 1957
    Age 28
    She appeared in an off-Broadway review that inspired the 1957 film Calypso Heat Wave, in which Angelou sang and performed her own compositions.
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    In 1957, riding on the popularity of calypso, Angelou recorded her first album, Miss Calypso, which was reissued as a CD in 1996.
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  • 1954
    Age 25
    During 1954 and 1955, Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess.
    More Details Hide Details She began her practice of learning the language of every country she visited, and in a few years she gained proficiency in several languages.
    After Angelou's marriage ended in 1954, she danced professionally in clubs around San Francisco, including the nightclub the Purple Onion, where she sang and danced to calypso music.
    More Details Hide Details Up to that point she went by the name of "Marguerite Johnson", or "Rita", but at the strong suggestion of her managers and supporters at the Purple Onion she changed her professional name to "Maya Angelou", a "distinctive name" that set her apart and captured the feel of her calypso dance performances.
  • 1951
    Age 22
    For example, she was married at least twice, but never clarified the number of times she had been married, "for fear of sounding frivolous"; according to her autobiographies and to Gillespie, she married Tosh Angelos in 1951 and Paul du Feu in 1974, and began her relationship with Vusumzi Make in 1961, but never formally married him.
    More Details Hide Details Angelou had one son Guy, whose birth was described in her first autobiography, one grandson, and two great-grandchildren, and according to Gillespie, a large group of friends and extended family.
    In 1951, Angelou married Greek electrician, former sailor, and aspiring musician Tosh Angelos, despite the condemnation of interracial relationships at the time and the disapproval of her mother.
    More Details Hide Details She took modern dance classes during this time, and met dancers and choreographers Alvin Ailey and Ruth Beckford. Angelou and Ailey formed a dance team, calling themselves "Al and Rita", and performed modern dance at fraternal black organizations throughout San Francisco, but never became successful. Angelou, her new husband, and her son moved to New York City so she could study African dance with Trinidadian dancer Pearl Primus, but they returned to San Francisco a year later.
  • 1928
    Born on April 4, 1928.
    More Details Hide Details
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