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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Biography
Maya Angelou's personal information overview.
Deceased
28 May 2014
Relationships
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News
News about Maya Angelou from around the web
The Long View: A Racist World, Described by Those Who Knew It
New York Times - 6 months
Rereading Maya Angelou, Richard Wright and other mid-20th-century writers is to see anew that Appomattox was as much a beginning as an end.
Article Link:
 New York Times article
When We Call Little Girls 'Fat,' We Kill Their Dreams
Huffington Post - 9 months
“She’s fat,” my daughter’s 8-year-old friend said in her sweet voice as she hopped into our car. She was referring to another 8-year-old. I peered into the rear-view-mirror to see the friend’s innocent grin. She was only repeating a phrase she’d likely heard countless times in reference to women and girls. But it was as if this cute little girl had unknowingly clasped my throat with her second grade hands. I choked. I knew I had strong feelings about body image, and I hated the word “fat.” But I didn’t know how those words “she’s fat” could yank me so rapidly and securely back to a painful throb in my thighs, my butt, my boobs, my waste, my cheekbones. I didn’t know that these words could take me to shame, to messages and images stored as a slightly pudgy 7-year-old, an awkward 10-year-old, a more awkward 13-year-old, an average 18-year-old and eventually a somewhat petite, fat-conscious adult. I didn’t know how quickly I could recall the self-hating talk, the wasted time in f...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Ivanka Trump's Book Uses Toni Morrison Quote To Equate Busyness With Slavery
Huffington Post - 10 months
One of the less brutal reviews of Ivanka Trump’s book Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success, penned by The New York Times’ Jennifer Senior, described it as “a strawberry milkshake of inspirational quotes.” Indeed, Trump does begin each chapter with a snippet of wisdom from a woman she, presumably, admires. Each is scrawled in darling, lopsided letters on a pink notecard, resembling a throw pillow more than a page in an actual book. Beneath every quote, Trump honors the intelligence and resilience of the featured writer with the thoughtful commentary #ITWISEWORDS.  This recipe ― which NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben accurately described as possessing “the aesthetic of a Pinterest board” more than a career guide ― is vapid and irritating enough. But some of the quotations Trump elects to include, particularly one from Toni Morrison, reveal the staggering extent of Trump’s privilege, entitlement and ignorance.  The quote above comes from Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-wi...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
‘If You Take Out Kenan Thompson, The Studio Will Explode'
Huffington Post - 10 months
Kenan Thompson took the stage in an oversized three-piece suit and an awkward wig bursting with Jheri curls. He looked, objectively speaking, completely and utterly ridiculous. Seconds before, a BET logo flashed across the screen as SNL cast member Will Forte, playing a talk show announcer, introduced the sketch: “It’s ‘What’s Up With That!’ Tackling the issues of today with soul,” Forte bellowed. “Now, here’s your host: Diondre Cole!” It was October 17, 2009, and unlikely as it seemed, Thompson was finally about to have his moment with the debut of a Saturday Night Live skit that would define him. He boogied in with a silly zip to each step. Perfectly in time, perfectly in tune and perfectly in control, Thompson began to sing, “Ooo―eee! What up with that? What up with that?” along with his two go-go dancers, played by Nasim Pedrad and Jenny Slate. What, exactly, was happening? Almost no one seemed to know, most especially the bewildered guests of the fictional show, whi...
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 Huffington Post article
10 Life Lessons I Learned From My Toddler
Huffington Post - 10 months
Mornings are hectic affairs in our house. My husband leaves by 6:00 - 6:30 a.m. to get to the office, and I commute close to an hour for work. Our schedules have naturally created a toddler who rises with the sun. I am so jealous of my friends with kids who actually sleep in on the weekends. Sleeping in for us is 6:30 a.m., maybe 7 a.m. if we are super, super lucky. I try to be proactive to make morning chaos a little less overwhelming. I usually pack my daughter’s clothes for the day the night before. Lay out a diaper, socks and shoes for transporting her from our home to my mom who, bless her heart, is our daycare provider, and gather all my work belongings, setting everything near the front door. We are at a great age where my 2-year-old can entertain herself with toys while I get ready for work. As I did a final look over on the items that needed to head out the door with us, I called out to my daughter, Lo, asking her to come on. She obliged, and when I turned to grab her...
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 Huffington Post article
Glennon Doyle Melton: White Feminism Must Be Intersectional, Or Else It Is Nothing
Huffington Post - 11 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); Giving a talk at OWN’s third annual “SuperSoul Sessions” speaker series at UCLA on Thursday, Momastery blogger and best-selling author Glennon Doyle Melton gave a talk about fear and pain. And in it, she had a special message for her fellow white feminists. “So, I need to talk to the white women for a minute,” Melton began. I know that many of us are feeling alone and ignored and threatened and abused. And we’re feeling like our bodies are being thr...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
47 Books You Should Add To Your Shelf, According To Poet Rupi Kaur
Huffington Post - 11 months
Rupi Kaur has vision beyond her years. At 24, the Indian-Canadian artist and poet decided to create a menstruation-themed photo series for a college project. She posted one now-famous photograph to Instagram, showing herself lying on a bed facing the wall, period blood staining her sweatpants and the bedsheet. Instagram repeatedly took down the photo from Kaur’s account, but the image went viral, attracting international attention. Though still a college student, she was something of an Instagram star already, thanks to her luminous and striking poetry, which she posted on the account. She told HuffPost at the time that she was galvanized in part by the stigma attached to menstruation ― an aspect of her project unwittingly reinforced by Instagram’s removal of the photo. “I always see women complaining — I’m one of them — about how much our periods suck,” she said. “But they’re also so beautiful. They give rise to life.” Less than two years later, a publishing house put out ...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Missouri childhood home of late Maya Angelou up for sale
Fox News - 11 months
The St. Louis childhood home of late poet Maya Angelou is up for sale.
Article Link:
 Fox News article
Adorable Video Shows Emma Watson Hiding Books In NYC Subways
Huffington Post - 12 months
Emma Watson wants you to get lit... literature, that is. The actress partnered with Vanity Fair’s Derek Blasberg to create a cute video of her roaming the subways of New York City and hiding books. She posted about the project on Instagram months ago, but the video has finally made its grand appearance. @booksonthesubway @booksontheunderground @oursharedshelf #Mom&Me&Mom A post shared by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on Nov 9, 2016 at 2:13pm PST In the video, Watson places copies of Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom on subway seats, behind pipes, in corners, and elsewhere underground in the Big Apple. The book was a recommendation in Watson’s feminist book club, called Our Shared Shelf. The club is open to anyone who wants to join, and its reading list can be found on Goodreads. Watson had posted images and video on Instagram of her doing similar book-related antics in London back in November. I've be...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
A Search For 'Hidden Figures' Finds Joy
Huffington Post - 12 months
Originally published on YouthRadio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe. By Keneisha Germain and Manuela Melguizo, ZUMIX Radio One of the highlights in an Academy Awards show filled with embarrassing flubs was seeing the cast of Hidden Figures on stage with the real-life inspiration for the film, NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson. The film, which is about the long-overlooked African American women who played an instrumental role in getting American astronauts into space, has created excitement in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. A whole new generation is discovering that they have long played a key role in advancing humanity’s frontiers. Youth Radio asked our partners at Boston’s Zumix to talk with Joy Buolamwini, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student who won the grand prize in the professional category of “The Search for Hidden Figures” scholarship contest that was tied to the film. B...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Ad Uses Maya Angelou's 'Phenomenal Woman' To Show The Endless Strength Of Women
Huffington Post - 12 months
A new video from women’s empowerment organization This Girl Can is highlighting just how phenomenal women are.  The 90-second clip features women of all shapes, sizes and colors doing different activities, including running, boxing, playing roller derby, weightlifting, swimming, dancing and even giving birth. Throughout the video, a voiceover reads an adapted version of Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman.” “Many people wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute, or built to suit a fashion model size,” the voiceover says while the video shows a woman applying lipstick and then cuts to a rugby player putting in her mouthguard. “When I start to tell them, they think I’m telling lies. But I say, ‘I’m a woman, phenomenally.’” This Girl Can is a British organization that celebrates “active women who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.” The powerful clip was published to This Girl Can’s Facebook page on ...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
I Dream Of Healthy Black Futures
Huffington Post - 12 months
Healthcare is a human right. No one should be denied the opportunity to see a doctor because of how much money is in their pocket or where they live. Our loved ones shouldn’t die from easily curable diseases simply because they can’t afford medicine. Black lives matter. Why are these controversial statements? Why are we living under an administration that thinks it is politically expedient to rip away our access to basic healthcare? Yes, denying people access to healthcare is the perfect way to accomplish your goals if your goals include severely restricting the flow of health resources to marginalized communities and pouring gasoline on the flames of white supremacy; making people of color too sick to earn a living, too sick to learn in school and too sick to raise families. But most of all, keep us too sick to challenge illegitimate authority. That’s exactly what we’re up against. Unfortunately, this tactic isn’t new. During slavery, slave owners frequently of...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Bill And Hillary Clinton Honor Maya Angelou: ‘We Are All In Her Debt’
Huffington Post - about 1 year
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 ...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Maya Angelou
    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 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.
  • 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.
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    In 2013, Angelou told her friend Oprah Winfrey that she had studied courses offered by the Unity Church, which were spiritually significant to her.
    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.
    Her final speaking engagement at the university was in late 2013.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 2008
    Age 79
    Angelou campaigned for the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential primaries, giving her public support to Senator Hillary Clinton.
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  • 2004
    Age 75
    She combined her cooking and writing skills in her 2004 book Hallelujah!
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  • 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.
  • 2000
    Age 71
    In 2000, she created a successful collection of products for Hallmark, including greeting cards and decorative household items.
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  • 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.
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    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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".
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    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.
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    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.
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  • 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.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 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.
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    In 1981, Angelou and du Feu divorced.
  • FORTIES
  • 1977
    Age 48
    In 1977, Angelou appeared in a supporting role in the television mini-series Roots.
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  • 1973
    Age 44
    She was "a reluctant actor", and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1973 for her role in Look Away.
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    Angelou married Welsh carpenter and ex-husband of Germaine Greer, Paul du Feu, in San Francisco in 1973.
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  • 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.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 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.
    In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. asked Angelou to organize a march.
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  • 1967
    Age 38
    She acted in and wrote plays, and returned to New York in 1967.
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  • 1965
    Age 36
    She worked as a market researcher in Watts and witnessed the riots in the summer of 1965.
    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.
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    Angelou remained in Accra for his recovery and ended up staying there until 1965.
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  • 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.
  • 1961
    Age 32
    Also in 1961, she met South African freedom fighter Vusumzi Make; they never officially married.
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    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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 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.
    In 1957, riding on the popularity of calypso, Angelou recorded her first album, Miss Calypso, which was reissued as a CD in 1996.
  • 1954
    Age 25
    During 1954 and 1955, Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess.
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    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.
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  • 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.
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    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.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1928
    Born
    Born on April 4, 1928.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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