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Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
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Book - I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing
International, Calypso, Caribbean Traditions, Spoken Word, Poetry, Comedy/Spoken
Maya Angelou (i; born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
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Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson, April 4, 1928) is an American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. Angelou is known for her series of six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (1969) which was nominated for a National Book Award and called her magnum opus. Her volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water `Fore I Die (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Angelou recited her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton`s inauguration in 1993. She has been highly honored for her body of work, including being awarded over 30 honorary degrees.
Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928 to Bailey Johnson, a doorman and naval dietitian, and Vivian Baxter Johnson, a nurse, real estate agent, and, later, merchant marine. Angelou`s brother, Bailey Jr., gave her the nickname "Maya". The details of Angelou`s life, although described in her six autobiographies and in numerous interviews, speeches, and articles, tend to be inconsistent. Her biographer, Mary Jane Lupton, explains that when Angelou speaks about her life, she does so eloquently but informally and "with no time chart in front of her".
In 2008, Angelou`s family history was profiled on the PBS series African American Lives 2. A DNA test showed that she was descended from the Mende people of West Africa. The program`s research showed that Angelou`s maternal great-grandmother, Mary Lee, emancipated after the Civil War, cut all ties with her slave past and renamed herself "Kentucky Shannon" because "she liked how it sounded". Little was known about Lee`s background because she prohibited anyone from knowing about it. Angelou learned that Lee became pregnant out of wedlock by her former owner, a white man named John Savin, and that he forced Lee to sign a false statement accusing another man of being the father. A grand jury indicted Savin for forcing Lee to commit perjury, and despite discovering that Savin was the father, found him not guilty. Lee was sent to the Clinton County, Missouri poorhouse with her daughter, who became Angelou`s grandmother, Marguerite Baxter. Angelou`s reaction after learning this information was, "That poor little black girl, physically and psychologically bruised." In March 2008, Angelou stated that she plans to spend part of the year studying at the Unity Church. In 2005 she attended a Unity Church service in Miami and decided that day to "go into a kind of religious school and study" on her 80th birthday.
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George Washington High School, CA, California Labor School, CA
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Marguerite Ann Johnson
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Poet, civil rights activist, dancer, singer, actress
Place of Death
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
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