Born: April 4th 1928 St. Louis, Missouri She is still living today
Maya Angelou is successful writer, actor, dancer, poet and filmmaker. She was also the first African-American woman to be a cable car conductor and director in Hollywood.
Maya Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps Arkansas. She was treated differently because of her race and skin color.Her parents being divorced, she lived with her brother and grandmother as a child. Her brother stuttered, so she was called ”My” and later on it progressed to ”Maya.”Maya Angelou learned religious faith and how to live traditional African-American life from her grandmother.At age seven, when Maya Angelou went to visit her mother in Chicago, her mother’s boyfriend had sexually harassed her. The only person to know about this was her brother, later on she heard that an uncle had murdered her molester.From then on she didn’t speak until five years went by and she was thirteen.Joining Mission High School and winning a scholarship to go study drama and dance at San Francisco’s Labor School she realized how much talent she had within herself. After returning to high school Maya Angelou became pregnant with her son, Guy. She took up the job as a waitress to support her son and her.
In 1952 she married Anastasios Angelopulos, a Greek sailor and started her career as a nightclub singer.her career became a hit, but her marriage became a flop.In 1954 and 1955 she went on a tour to perform the Porgy and Bess opera and learned modern dance from Martha Graham. In 1957 she recorded her first album, the Calypso Lady.She moved to New York, joined the Harlem Writers Guild, and wrote and performed Carabet for Freedom with actor and comedian Godfrey Cambridge. There she fell in love with Vusumzi Make , a South African civil rights activist.then they moved to Cairo, Egypt and she became the editor of The Arab Observer. Later on they went to live in Ghana, there she became the instructor and assistant administrator of the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, was the feature editor of The African Review ,wrote for The Ghanaian Times and the Ghanaian Broadcasting Company .
Maya Angelou went overseas to the United States came back with the knowledge of how to speak Italian, Arabic, French, Spanish, and West African: Fanti.At Ghana she met Malcolm X, whose intentions were to make an organization of African-American unity, but shortly after Maya Angelou returned to USA Malcolm was assassinated. So she began working more with Martin Luther King Jr. Sadly he too was assassinated and on Maya Angelou’s birthday! Taking her friend’s advice she found peace in writing, creating I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Like a disease Maya Angelou’s books and poems spread everywhere.People wanted her as their teacher and lecturer.One of Maya Angelou’s screenplay called Georgia, Georgia was the first ever screenplay by an African-American woman selected for the Pulitzer Prize. Many presidents even invited her in their commissions and inaugurations, in one of them she read ”On the Pulse of the Morning,” which was broadcasted live all over the world. ”Down in the Delta,” was her first feature film, that she directed.
Maya Angelou was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Arts, Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom (awarded to her by Barack Obama) and she also narrated an award-winning documentary of a film :The Black Candle , along with a book, Letter to My Daughter.
I hope there are more medals and awards to come, along with super-hit poems!