Maya Angelou Biography, American Poet, Author, Actress & More

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was a famous poet, memoirist, singer, actor dancer, and civil rights activist. She writes many books on poetry, children, cookbook, religion, and also an autobiography. She was an American Famous leading female contemporary poet. Her autobiography, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” was a bestseller book released in 1969. this book was nominated for a National Book Award. Her experiences growing up as an African American During the Jim Crow era were recounted. The book was one of the First written by an African American lady to be a mainstream readership.

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About Maya Angelou’s Personal Life

Personal Info
Full Name Maya Angelou
Also Known As Marguerite Annie Johnson
Death Date May 28, 2014(aged 86)
Occupation Writer, Poet, Civil Rights Activist
Date of Birth  4 April 1928
Birthplace St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Spouse Tosh Angelou
Children Guy Johnson
Gender Female
Profession Writer, Poet
Nationality American
Education George Washington High School(San Francisco California)
Taught At Wake Forest University

Maya Angelou’s Popular Books Collection

Angelou released “Gather Together in My Name” four years later, detailing her experiences as a single mother and aspiring singer. “Singin’ and Swinging and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas” was released. Later installments included “All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes” (1986), “A Song Flung Up to Heaven” (2002), and “Mom & Me & Mom” (2013).

Category    Book Name
Poetry     1. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
  2. Maya Angelou’s The Complete Poetry
  3. Rainbow and The Cloud – The Wisdom and Spirit Of Maya Angelou
  4. Maya Angelou – I know why the Caged Bird Sings
Autobiography   1. Mom & Me & Mom – Maya Angelou
  2. Maya Angelou – Singin’ And Swingin’ And Gettin’ Merry Like       Christmas
  3. Maya Angelou – All God’s Children Need Traveling  Shoes
  4. Maya Angelou – The Heart of a Women
Children   1. Maya’s World – Izak of Lapland
  2. Maya’s World – Angelina of Italy
  3. My Painted House My Friendly Chicken and Me
  4. Maya’s World – Mikale of Hawaii
Cook Book   1. Hallelujah! The Welcomed Table
  2. Great Food, All Day Long cook splendidly, Eat smart  
Religious   1. Maya Angelou – Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now

Maya Angelou’s Social Media Accounts

Social Site   Accounts
Facebook  @MayaAngelou
Instagram  @MayaAngelou
Twitter  @MayaAngelou
YouTube  @MayaAngelou

Awards and Honors

Angelou received three Grammy Awards for her spoken word CDs after receiving a Tony Award nomination for her participation in the 1973 Broadway play Look Away.

Awards/Honors 2011  Presidential Medal Of Freedom
2003  Grammy Award: The Best Spoken Word Album
2002  Grammy Award
2000  National Medal of Arts
1996  Grammy Award: Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Album
1995  Grammy Award
1994  Spingarn Medal
1994  Grammy Award: Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Album
1993  Grammy Award
1928  National Women’s Hall of Fame 

Movies and Tv Shows


Movies/Tv Shows

(Acted in)

2006  “Madea’s Family Reunion”
2000  “The Runway” 
2000  “Happily Ever After Fairy Tales For Every Child”
1997  “Talking with David Frost”
1995  “Touched by an Angel”
1995  “How to Make an American Quilt”
1995  “The Journey of August King”
1995  “Sesame Street”
1993  “There are no Children Here”
1993  “Poetic Justice”
1997  “Roots”
1997  “Calypso Heat Wave”

Favorite Things

Favorite Color All Colors
Favorite Food Chilli
Favorite Seasons All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot Home 
Favorite Fruit Mango

Maya Angelou’s Notable Quote

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Earlier Life Of Maya Angelou

Marguerite Ann Johnson, the world commonly known as Maya Angelou, was born in St. Louis, Missouri on 4 April 1928. Bailey Johnson, her father, was a doorman and a navy dietician. Vivian Baxter Johnson, her mother, was a nurse.

She may have achieved recognition as “Maya Angelou,” but she was not born with her birth name or surname. Angelou birth name was Marguerite Annie Johnson. “Maya” is a nickname from her brother, and Angelou is a shortened version of Angelopoulos, the surname of a Greek Sailor whom she married in 1952.

Her parents divorce when she was just three years old, sending her and her brother to live with their paternal grandmother Anne Henderson in the fiercely segregated Stamps, Arkansas.

Within Four years, Angelou and her brother were sent to live with their mother in St. Louis. Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend before the age of eight while living there. After she told her brother, the man was arrested and later slain, most likely by Angelou’s relatives. Angelou was nearly mute for five years as a result of his murder and the anguish that surrounded it.

During World War II, Angelou Attended George Washington Hing School and San Francisco’s Labor School, briefly leaving out to work as the city’s first Black female streetcar conductor, but eventually graduating at the age of seventeen. She gave birth to her lone son three weeks after graduating. She worked as a cocktail server, cook, and dancer to support herself and her child.

Angelou studied music and drama at the University of Ghana and worked as a feature editor for “The African Review. Angelou toured Europe with a performance of Porgy and Bess from 1954 to 1955.

Journey To Stardom

According to the New York Times, Angelou was the first Black woman to serve as a streetcar conductor in San Francisco when she was a young adult.

Maya Angelou learned a variety of things all at once, around 1950. she was full of energy and life, propelling her from one location to the next. this motivated her to learn dance as well as meet notable people such as Alvin Ailey and Ruth Beckford. She once Formed an ‘AI and Rita’ dancing team with her buddy Alvin.

She eventually moved to New York to study under the tutelage of Pearl Primus, an African dance educator. After that Maya returned to San Francisco. Maya earned money via dancing. She was given the nickname Rita but eventually changed her name to Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou’s marriage ended in 1954, yet she continued to dance. Angelou chose the name “Maya Angelou” when playing at San Francisco’s Purple Onion because it was unique. She merged the name given to her by her brother with a new Surname formed from her ex-surname husband’s.

Angelou toured Europe with a performance of the Opera Porgy and Bess from 1954 to 1955, and three years later, she relocated to New York City to focus on her literary Career.

Her Career 

Angelou met novelist James Oliver Killen in 1959, who urged her to pursue a career as a writer. Angelou Returned to New York City and joined the Harlem Writers Guild, where she began to publish her work.

Around the same time, Angelou secured a role in a State Department-sponsored production of George Gershwin’s folk opera “Porgy and Bess,” which toured 22 European and African countries. She also had dancing lessons from Martha Graham.

She met the Human Rights Activist during a musical event called “Cabaret for Freedom.” The program’s goal was to assist and support the SCLC Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Maya Moved to Ghana in 1965, where she worked as an editor at ‘The African Review’ and The University of Ghana. She later began her performing career at the National Theatre. In 1961, she continued her acting career by appearing in Jean genet’s drama “The Blacks.”

Angelou fell in love with South African activist Vusumzi make and relocated to Cairo to work as an assistant editor for the Arab Observer. Angelou relocated to Accra, Ghana, in 1962, where she taught at the University of Ghana and worked as a feature editor for the African Review, a freelancer for the Ghanaian Times, and a radio Presenter for Radio Ghana.

After Returning US 

She returned to the United States in 1964 to assist Malcolm X in the establishment of the Organization of African American Unity. Angelou’s famous autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was released in 1970. 

Angelou became an active member of the African American Expatriate community in Ghana, where she met and became close friends with Malcolm X. When Angelou returned to the United States in 1965, she assisted Malcolm X in the formation of the organization of Afro-American Unity. however, he was slain before the group could fully get started. Unfortunately, when Malcolm died, the Organisation went with him.

In 1968, while she was assisting King in organizing a march, he was slain as well. Angelou was motivated by the deaths of these luminaries to write, produce, and narrate a 10-part documentary titled “Blacks, Blues, Black!“.

Angelou’s famous autobiography, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings“, was released in 1970, and she won a National Book Award Nomination for it. This autobiography was followed by five further volumes, which were published in 1974,1976, 1981,1986 and 2002. “Just Give Me a Cool Drink Of Water’ Fore I Diiie,” Angelou’s debut collection of poetry, was released in 1971 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize the following year. She was appointed Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in 1981.

Maya Angelou, overcome a difficult childhood and early adulthood to become a singer, actor, activist, and writer. She gained National prominence in 1993 when she presented her poetry, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at President Bill Clinton’s First inauguration.

Angelou’s Major Works 

Angelou created the film “Georgia, Georgia” in addition to releasing her autobiographical series. She was Nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in “Look Away” the following year. Angelou appeared as a supporting actor in the Golden Globe-winning TV miniseries “Roots” in 1977.

Maya received an Invitation from President Bill Clinton’s secretary to attend and present her inspirational poetry in early 1993. This occurred at a congregational swearing-in. She was the second poet to get the honor. She returned to perform her second poem, ‘A Brave and Startling Truth,’ at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 1955.

Maya was an activist as well as a poet, historian, and dancer. She was prominently included in multiple presidential campaigns, including those of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Martin Luther King, Jr. also designated her as an intellectual advisor. Maya took use of the occasion to recall her mother, Vivian Difficulties, and penned ‘Mom & Me & Mom‘.

Angelou was elected into the National Women’s Hall of Frame in 1998. In 2000, she received the National Medal of Arts, and in 2008, she received the Lincoln Medal.

Angelou’s personal files and other objects from her career were presented to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in 2010.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Country’s highest civilian honor, was bestowed to her the following year by President Barack Obama.

Angelou there split her time between Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Harlem, New York. Angelou was the mother of one son, two grandsons, and two great-grandchildren.

Maya Angelou had been ill for a long time and was suffering from heart problems when she died on 28 May 2014. Her career discovered her at her home in Winston-Salem, where she had taught for several years at Wake Forest University. She was 86 years old.

Interesting Facts

  1. She sipped sherry while writing Angelou had a strict writing routine.
  2. She had been deaf for five years. Angelou remained silent for five years after her rapist was slain by her uncle. She was sure that her voice was to blame for his death.
  3. Years later, under times of stress, Angelou would frequently withdraw into mutism, calling it “addictive.
  4. Martin Luther King Jr. was dead on her 40th birthday.
  5. Angelou won 3 Grammy Awards not for singing but for her spoken word albums. She won her first Grammy for the poem On the Pulse of The Morning, which she wrote for Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.
  6. When she was in her teens, she worked as a sex worker. Angelou briefly worked as a sex worker to support her child in her teens. This incident was documented in her 1974 memoir, Gather Together in My Name.
  7. She had a connection with a South African Freedom Fighter Angelou began dating civil rights activist Vusumzi Make in 1961.
  8. They moved to Cairo together but soon separated. Angelou and her son afterward moved to Ghana.
  9. Maya knew a lot of different Languages, including French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, and the West African Language Fanti.
  10. Maya was allergic to seafood. It was apparently so acute that she asked people not to eat seafood at the time of meeting with her.

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