When Was Maya Angelou Poet Laureate

Maya Angelou was the first African American appointed US Poet Laureate in 1993. She was part of a distinguished group of laureates such as Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and Robert Hayden. The US Poet Laureate is chosen by the Library of Congress and serves as the country’s spokesperson for poetry and literature. Angelou’s appointment was groundbreaking in that she was the first African-American woman to hold the position, and was influential in popularizing poetry to a new level of national prominence.

Angelou wrote many works that focused on the struggles of African-Americans and women in her era. Her most famous work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of literature in American history. During her time as Poet Laureate, Angelou continued to write and perform, and her position helped her to spread her message of social equality, racial justice, and women’s rights.

As a part of her role as Poet Laureate, Angelou gave a number of speeches and lectures throughout the United States. She also collaborated with the Library of Congress on projects such as the “The Hungry Ear Project,” in which she worked with local communities to create audio recordings of poems and memories of people’s communities.

Angelou was a featured speaker at numerous public and private events around the country, ranging from her America and class address at the United Nations General Assembly to speaking before a graduation ceremony at historically black colleges and universities. She also wrote and read poetry for a multitude of occasions, including Bill Clinton’s first presidential inauguration.

During her tenure as Poet Laureate, Angelou had many accomplishments and awards such as the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Lincoln Medal of honor. She was also honored with a Grammy Award, two NAACP Awards and two Emmy nominations.

At the end of her tenure in 1995, Angelou remained a passionate advocate for literature, poetry, and African-American culture. She remained an influential voice in the poetry and literature community, extending beyond her service as Poet Laureate. Angelou’s influence and impact are still felt across the country, and she serves as a shining example of how art can be used as a force for positive change in the world.

Angelou’s Poetry

Maya Angelou’s work is highly acclaimed, and her collections of poetry have been praised for their insight into the human experience and their deep wisdom. Her poems often focus on themes of love and loss, pressing into the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Her works also often focused on social issues of the time, creating a powerful sense of connection between her poems and her audience.

Angelou’s collections of poems speak to many varied experiences. In her later works, she moves away from traditional poem structure to creating deeply personal works of contemplation and reflection. Her words are both poignant and profound, giving her works a memorable and lasting effect on her readers.

Angelou’s works were often written as a reflection of her life, and they often encompassed topics such as race, gender, history, and faith. She was known for her unique and often humorous takes on some of life’s biggest issues, such as in her poem “Still I Rise”. Throughout her work, Angelou reveals her unique and complex view of life, which many readers found inspiring and uplifting.

She also wrote children’s books and short stories, which earned her an African American Literature award. In 1988, she was one of twelve authors asked to write a book for the Library of Congress’s nationwide poetry celebration. In 2009, President Barack Obama asked her to read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at his inauguration.

Angelou’s Legacy

Maya Angelou’s influence on the literary world is far-reaching. In 2018, an exhibit honoring her work and life was presented at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. She was one of the first people of color to have a major literary career in the United States and her work paved the way for many other poets, authors and activists to follow in her footsteps.

Her books have been translated into multiple languages and continue to be widely read. Her voice and presence has been integral in inspiring a new generation of writers and poets of all races, backgrounds, and cultures. Through her works and her presence as a public figure, Angelou has changed the way that Americans view literature and its relevance to their lives.

Angelou’s legacy lives on through her work and her inspiration. Her writings continue to challenge and move readers, and her work has touched people around the world. Angelou’s life and work exemplify the power of the written word and its ability to spur conversations around difficult topics and shape society to be more just and equitable.

Honors and Awards

Maya Angelou was the recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout her career. In 2000, she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2010 she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Angelou was also recognized in her field of literature with many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the Bobbs Merrill Emerging Writers Award, and the Langston Hughes Medal.

Her works have been translated into many languages, and she was a part of the Nobel Prize in Literature planning committee. Additionally, she was a Professor of American Studies and Poetry at Wake Forest University and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Angelou was an influential figure and her presence was felt not only through her poetry, but through her presence as a public advocate for social justice, education, and civil rights. Even after her passing in 2014, Angelou’s life and works continue to be celebrated around the world.

Angelou’s Contributions to Society

Maya Angelou is remembered as an artist, a poet, and an outspoken advocate for social justice. She used her platform and her prolific body of work to demand a more just and equitable society and to speak up against racism and discrimination. Her work was instrumental in pointing out the reality of life for African-Americans and in highlighting the importance of racial justice and equal opportunity for all people.

Angelou was a champion for the arts and she believed that through the spoken and written word, individuals could connect to each other in a powerful way. She was passionate about fighting for equality and inspiring people to look past differences, and her works continue to bring people together to this day.

Angelou’s works were a reminder to people of the importance of standing up for what is right and not accepting injustices in society. In addition to her activism, Angelou has left an impact on art, literature, and poetry. Her works, both non-fiction and fiction, continue to inspire and move readers with their beauty and insight.


Maya Angelou was a powerful and influential voice in both literature and the fight for social justice. As the first African American woman appointed to the post of US Poet Laureate, she successfully brought poetry and literature to a new level of national prominence. Her works often focus on the struggles of African-Americans and women in her era and underscore the need for social equality and civil rights. Her words have been translated into multiple languages and will continue to speak to new generations. Her life and work will continue to be remembered and celebrated for their power and sensitivity.

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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