What Education Did Maya Angelou Have

Maya Angelou was a renowned American poet, respected author and civil rights activist. She was highly influential in enriching the lives of millions. One of the most remarkable aspects of her life was the fact that she endured so much and was able to excel against all odds. An aspect of her life that is not so well known is her educational background.

Maya Angelou earned a High School diploma from Lafayette High School in Stamps, Arkansas. She then moved to San Francisco to attend the George Washington High School. She earned a scholarship to University of California, Berkeley, in 1945. She later studied acting and dance at the California Labor School and became the first black woman to become a cable-car conductor in San Francisco. Her extensive studies ranged from journalism, philosophy, French and Spanish.

In addition to her academic studies, she also learned to read and write via her grandmother’s instructional methods. She also learned to play the piano and tap-dance from a music teacher. As a youngster, she was a part of the Jr. Free Masons and learned the principles of mythology, poetry and philosophy from them.

Angelou’s studies of African culture had a major influence on her poetry. She frequently referenced Africa’s culture and its diaspora in her works. She took classes at the New School and New York University, where she explored her African-American root and furthered her knowledge of Civil Rights. During the Civil Rights Movement, she served as a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

She held an honorary degree in Doctorate of Humane letters from many prestigious educational institutions. From Bellarmine University to Harvard University and numerous other universities, fell over each other to honour Maya Angelou with honorary degrees. Her educational journey inspired many generations of students to be unstoppable and to heavily invest in their educational development.


Maya Angelou was an extremely active advocate of civil rights and humanity. She was an active member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a movement led by Martin Luther King Jr for the African-American civil rights. She held teaching roles at various universities and colleges, lecturing about issues concerning civil rights.

She was very active in African-American art scene, often staging works concerning Black culture. She wrote plays, television scripts, and movie scripts, with ‘Georgia, Georgia’ being one of the most enduringly successful. She also was a regular feature at the Harlem Writers Guild and the Black Arts Movement.

Besides her activism, Angelou was a lifelong student. Even when she was in her eighties, she continued her passion for education and learning. She stated that she wanted to continue learning even when she entered the ‘valley of the shadow of death’.

Angelou’s lifelong thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. This element of her life allowed her to excel in areas such as philosophy, cultural/political issues and literature. Her commitment to learning, continued in her later years, where she initiated various reading and learning activities. This one of her most admirable qualities.

Writing Career

Maya Angelou’s incredible writing career spaned five-decades and was truly worthwhile. She wrote over 30 books, numerous plays and countless articles. Her autobiographies marked a great impact on the course of African-American literature. Her film, television and stage works are among the most celebrated in the genre.

Angelou was the first African-American to author a filn script with the hit-movie, Georgia, Georgia. She wrote scripts for film and television series such as, Roots, and played numerous lead roles in theaters. She was often consulted on issues of education in her home-town of Stamps and in cities around the world.

Angelou was the poet-laureate of the United States in the early 2000s. She was invited to dozens of prestigious institutions to give poetry readings, lectures and was also awarded honorary degrees from various universities. She was also invited to recite her famous poem, On the Pulse o Morning, at the inauguration of Bill Clinton in 1993.

Angelou’s writings have changed the world and shall continue to inspire the generations to come. Her impact and contribution to the educational system and artistic understanding will be remembered for many years.

Effect on the Educational System

Maya Angelou had a tremendous impact on the education system, due to her commitment to learning throughout her life. One of the main reasons why she was so successful in every field she went into was because of the amount of research she put into every subject.Her vast knowledge of civil rights and her commitment to African-American culture and literature had a huge influence on how the education system shaped the view of African-Americans.

Angelou was deeply involved in the civil rights movement and fought hard for the equality that African-American people deserved. Her commitment to this cause allowed her to shape the educational views of the nation, in order to bridge the gap between black and white people. By challenging the status quo and exposing the injustice that African-Americans faced, Angelou was able to lay the foundation for a more equal education system.

Intensive research and her willingness to learn new subjects allowed her to become an accomplished author, playwright and poet. Her books and plays gave millions of readers and audience members a chance to experience black culture and civil rights. This allowed Angelou to influence the next generation of black students, helping to shape their outlook, dreams and ideas.

Angelou’s courage and dedication to civil rights inspired millions of students, particularly on topics concerning race, gender and society. Her commitment to learning and her pursuit of knowledge can still be found in institutions around the world. Angelou’s courage and conviction showed millions of students, during her lifetime and since, the importance of educating themselves, fighting for justice and striving to reach their goals.

Her Education Legacy

Maya Angelou left an incredible educational legacy for the generations to come. Her approach towards learning teaches us all that knowledge is power and that education can be the gateway to a better future. She believed in intensive research and learning, which laid the foundation for her successful writing career.

Her commitment to African-American civil rights and culture was evident in her works. She believed in equality and her passion for justice and knowledge continues to inspire people from all walks of life. She was a beacon of light in the darkness and her intense dedication to learning shaped the way African-Americans perceived education.

Her books, plays and lectures taught millions of people how to strive for justice and how to embrace knowledge and to never give up on their dreams. She was a powerful influence in the Civil Rights Movement and her words and works still shape our understanding of the struggle for racial equality.

Angelou’s educational legacy continues to influence the way people think and approach education. By investing in knowledge and understanding, we can make the world a better place and strive for justice, fairness and opportunity for all.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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