Who Is Maya Angelou Biography

Maya Angelou is among the most celebrated literary masters of our time. She is celebrated for her numerous scholarly works, touching on a variety of topics including racism and identity. She is associated with many inspiring quotes which have resonated with generations of readers. Born to Louisiana parents, Angelou grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri in a segregated home.

In the late 1940s, Angelou moved to San Francisco, and in 1951 became the first female cable car conductor in the city’s history. She was an entrepreneur, operating her own testing and answering services business. In the 1950s she was also an active member of the Harlem Writers Guild, where she befriended James Baldwin and Malcolm X.

Angelou is best known for her non-fiction account I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), which recounting her childhood. In it, she captured youthful joys and struggles with racism, prejudice and physical abuse. With this work, she became the first African American woman to achieve a Pulitzer Prize nomination. Since then, she has become celebrated for her plays, film scripts and poetry.

Angelou’s literary works have been honored with more than 30 honorary doctorates and countless awards. She received more than 50 honorary doctorates from college and universities from around the world, including Dartmouth College and Harvard University. She also wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia, making her the first African-American woman to write and direct an original screenplay.

In 1993, the White House appointed Angelou the first Poet Laureate of the United States. Additionally, she received various awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Academy of Arts and Letters. Angelou’s works were also awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts, the highest award given to an artist by the United States government.

Angelou has been remembered for her indomitable strength, wisdom, and unparalleled literary works. Her legacy continues to sustain her impact and inspire a new generation of writers and poets. The world is forever grateful for the invaluable contributions Maya Angelou has made.


Maya Angelou has captivated people all across the world with her empowering words. Angelou often encouraged individuals to remain true to themselves and strive for excellence in the face of hardships. Her writing, coupled with her vocal renditions, spoke of the painful struggles many former slaves and their families had endured.

Angelou’s experience of racism and personal trauma led her to form her unique writing style and world-view. Her oeuvre includes a lyrical prose that captures the African American experience. She often wrote as a way to grapple with emotionally charged issues and her work has touched poignant topics such as identity, mental health and race. Through her work, she has been credited with helping to shape the consciousness of generations who have followed in her time.

In addition to her influence on literature and discourse, many argue that Maya Angelou has been a key influence in the advancement of racial and gender equality. She used her powerful storytelling to communicate messages of strength and resilience to individuals of all backgrounds. Angelou was unapologetic in her address of racism and her works encouraged readers to open their minds and strive for justice and equality.

Angelou has served as a mentor and an inspirational voice. Her books, literature and body of work continue to educate and remind readers and admirers of the complexity of human nature. Thus, her works will be valued and remain relevant in literature, politics and history, long after her life.


Since Maya Angelou’s passing in 2014, tributes have surfaced providing insight into the lasting legacy left behind. Her literary works span decades and provide deep insight into her honest view of the world. Her story, a first-hand account of numerous forms of prejudice and racism, serves as a reminder of both collective strength and resilience.

Angelou was honored for her lifetime of achievements and notably, for her invaluable contributions in the fight for racial and gender equality. As a result, her name will live on alongside those of other influential icons such as Malcom X and Toni Morrison. Her works have become bestsellers, and her body of work continues to be studied at universities, many of which have honoured her with honorary degrees.

Angelou’s influence lives on in her stories and words, which grace the covers of books, adorn greeting cards, fill the lyrics of her favorite singer, and inspire the speeches of African American leaders. Through her courage and writings, Angelou championed transformative movements, sometimes silently and other times with the power of her pen or spoken word. Despite her physical absence, her voice and presence will be remembered for years to come.


The breadth of Maya Angelou’s impact continues to provide inspiration and a source of hope for many. Her interpretation of the African-American experience has been validated through accolades and awards. The nation’s leaders have collectively acknowledged her works, commemorating her life and legacy.

In August 2017, Washington D.C.’s Human Rights memorial was named “The Maya Angelou Memorial”. The memorial is dedicated to her work to foster civil rights, women’s rights, human rights, and the advancement of youth. It also denotes her inspiration to writers from all nationalities. Additionally, in 2018, a bronze sculpture was erected in Angelou’s honour in her hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The piece, titled “A Song Flung Up to Heaven”, serves as an everlasting reminder of her profound impact.

Other landmarks named after Angelou include The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and a replication of the Emancipation Proclamation in her honour. Additionally, the Maya Angelou Public Charter School opened in Washington, D.C. in 2006. Named after her, students at the public school are exposed to her literary works, teaching the values of racial identity and self-determination.

Today, Angelou’s legacy is celebrated in literature, history, art and music. Her profound legacy has continued to touch millions of hearts and her work will continue to move generations to come.

Inspirational Quotes

Maya Angelou’s contributions to the world through her writings and speeches have inspired scholars and writers for decades. As a prolific writer and advocate for racial, gender and social justice, Angelou was respected for her influence and for her sharing of knowledge and insight with the world.

Angelou has graced the world with many memorable quotes, some of which have become staples in our society. Her memorable poems and texts have left a lasting impact, encouraging resilience and reminding individuals of their true potential. These quotes have become fan favourites, and are often shared among friends and family, especially when dealing with hardships.

Angelou’s quotes are the sources of positive energy, and can be found on countless books, cards, notebooks and other goods. She has been known for quotes that attempt to help readers find courage and strength, in particular during difficult times. Some of her most memorable quotes include “Be a Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud”, “We May Encounter Many Defeats But We Must Not Be Defeated”, and “Nothing Can Dim the Light Which Shines From Within”.

Final Thoughts

Maya Angelou remains an influential figure in history. Her words still resonate with many people as symbols of great strength, courage and ambition. She has been celebrated for her works, inspiring an influx of writers, poets and artists. As an innovator and an advocate, she left a lasting imprint in literature and beyond.

Angelou’s works, including her essays, plays, and books, were formally acclaimed in all literary circles. She spoke openly and powerfully about race, identity, and injustices, thus inspiring and empowering individuals to be true to themselves and stand in the face of adversity. Angelou embraced the beauty of life and through her struggle and her success she was able to spread her message around the world.

The world would not be the same without Maya Angelou. She is the voice of strength and inspiration for future generations. Her words have beautifully touched the lives of so many, will continue to live in the hearts of her admirers, and will serve as an example for years to come.

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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