Maya Angelou


Tribune News Service

SPEAK UP. Angelou spent the majority of her life working alongside other activists, primarily for racial equality. In her life she worked with Gloria Steinem, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many more. They marched, planned, rallied, and wrote articles and poetry alike to do their part.

Marguerite Annie Johnson Angelou was born April 4, 1928. Known by most as simply Maya Angelou. She would grow up to be well known for her poetry and for being a civil rights activist, though she was also a mother, singer, actress, and dancer.
Her most popular piece of writing being her memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Much of the writing about her life had to do with her difficult childhood and teen years. Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was just seven years old. She experienced even further trauma when the perpetrator was killed by another member of her family, this experience led Angelou to become mute for five years until the age of 13.
Angelou gave birth to her son Guy at the age of 16 and began working to support him. The difficulties did not end there, however. Her dear friend and fellow activist Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on her birthday in 1968. She would later write “A Song Flung Up to Heaven” to help with the grieving process of both him and her other activist friend Malcolm X.
Angelou also has won a multitude of awards such as a Grammy (for her best spoken word album), the Mother Teresa Award, The Voice of Peace Award, and many, many others. She was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998. Although Angelou passed away at the age of 86 in 2014, her legacy and work continue to live on.