Why Was Maya Angelou So Important

Maya Angelou was an inspirational human rights activist and acclaimed author who made an influential impact on the lives of many people. She used her writing and activism to fight for causes like racism and women’s rights, and her powerful words are still remembered today. Here are the reasons why Maya Angelou was so important.

Primarily, Angelou was a renowned writer. She wrote seven autobiographies, three books of essays, various poems and even a couple of plays. Her most famous works include ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ and ‘A Brave and Startling Truth.’

In addition, Angelou was a passionate activist for civil rights, women’s rights and other important causes. During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, she was heavily involved in marches, speeches, and other public events. Angelou also worked with influential people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

Furthermore, Angelou was the first woman to compose and recital an original poem at a presidential inauguration. The poem, ‘On the Pulse of the Morning,’ was read by Angelou at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993. It is remembered as one of the most influential poems of the 20th century.

Moreover, Angelou was an advocate for education. During her life, she spent time teaching at universities including Yale and the University of Ghana. In addition to teaching, she also developed the literacy program ‘Smile Jamaica’, which helped children in Jamaica to learn how to read and write. Angelou’s strong belief in the importance of education inspired many.

Lastly, Angelou has received many awards and honors throughout her life, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which she received in 2011. These awards and honors are reflective of Angelou’s legacy and her lasting impact on the lives of many people.

Personal Impact of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou had a monumental impact on the personal lives of many people. Her courage to stand up for those who have traditionally been misunderstood and maltreated has been a rallying cry for those who have been systematically subjected to racism and discrimination.

Her personal experiences living during the civil rights movement, her involvement with figures like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and her powerful words that articulate the struggles of the marginalized have served as a testament to the plight of minority groups in the US.

Angelou’s writing also helped to spread awareness and introduce these issues to a larger audience. Her powerful portrayals of race and identity gave people a counter narrative that challenged the dominant discourse concerning minorities. Her words highlighted the resilience of minority communities in the face of social, economic, and political marginalization.

As a result, Angelou served as an influential and inspirational figure to many. Her courage and resilience in the face of oppression has served as an example for many who have suffered from similar injustices. Angelou’s capacity for hope and her dedication to bettering the lives of others has made her an important figure in history.

Legacy of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou will be remembered for many years to come. She has left behind a powerful legacy that has inspired countless people around the world through her books, speeches, and activism.

Her unyielding commitment to human rights and the fight against discrimination has made her a beloved figure and encouraged many to persevere in the face of adversity. Her hard work in the civil rights movement and her influential writing style will continue to inspire many generations to come.

Angelou’s powerful words also live on today and continue to bring attention to social issues. Her poems, books, and speeches are a reminder to keep the fight for human rights alive and to never give up until justice is achieved.

Most importantly, Maya Angelou provided a counter narrative that challenged the dominant discourse concerning minority groups. Her works highlighted the struggles of black and brown people living during times of segregation and pushed back against the oppressive forces of white supremacy.

Important Myths about Maya Angelou

Many myths have been spread about Maya Angelou over the years. Her unique style of writing does not always make it easy to discern the truth from fiction.

One of the most common myths about Angelou is that she was a leader of the civil rights movement. While Angelou was certainly an influential figure during the movement and worked with well-known figures like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, she was never a leader of the movement. It was these important leaders who influenced Angelou, rather than the other way around.

Another myth is that Angelou was an unwavering optimist. While Angelou was certainly a resilient and determined woman, many misquote her famous words ‘Still I Rise’ as a declaration of undying hope for the future. In fact, the meaning behind these powerful words was much more nuanced and included acknowledgement of the continued struggle of oppressed people.

Additionally, there is a misconception that Angelou was a quiet, unassuming figure. While she was sometimes reticent and introspective in her writing, Angelou was often outspoken and passionate in her activism.

Finally, there is a mistaken notion that Angelou was an isolated figure. Angelou was surrounded by many influential people during her lifetime. She wrote and spoke with many renowned scholars, politicians, and activists, and these people helped shape her views and influenced her writing.

Awards and Honors of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou received many awards and honors during her lifetime, recognizing her significant contribution to literature and the struggles of minorities.

One of the most prestigious honors was the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which she was awarded by President Obama in 2011. This award recognizes individuals for their contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, or cultural endeavors. It is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States.

Angelou’s works have also been honored with many literary awards. In 1994 she was awarded the National Book Award for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for her collection of poetry titled Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Die.

The University of Arkansas also honored Angelou with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2000 and the degree of Doctor of Laws in 2008. These awards recognize her significant contribution to literature, the arts, and education.

Angelou also received numerous lifetime achievement awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal, which was awarded to her in 2004. This prestigious award is given every two years by City College of New York and is one of the highest honors for writers.

Influence of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has had an immeasurable impact on the lives of many people. Through her writing and activism, she has inspired and empowered many to stand up for those who have been subjugated by oppressive systems.

Her works have taught countless people about history and the injustice that still exists in the world today. Through her words, Angelou has shed light on the struggles of minorities and has encouraged people to be more understanding and compassionate.

Angelou’s writing has also given many people hope. Her words have allowed those who have experienced trauma and oppression to find solace in her stories and to heal through her words.

Finally, Angelou has served as an oft-quoted source of wisdom to many. Her famous words ‘Still I Rise’, ‘Love recognizes no barriers’, and ‘If you don’t like something, change it’ are words that are still quoted today and are reminders to keep fighting for justice and equality.


Maya Angelou’s commitment to civil rights, education and promoting equality has shaped the lives of many people. Her powerful words have resonated with people all over the world and will continue to be remembered for many years to come. Angelou has left behind a legacy that many can look to for hope and strength in the fight for justice.

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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