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April 4, 1928, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
May 28, 2014, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
Writer, Poet, Civil Rights Activist
April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014
Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, popular poet, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.
“Down in the Delta”, “His Day Is Done”, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, “On the Pulse of Morning”
Angelou explores many of the same themes throughout all her writings, in both her autobiographies and poetry. These themes include love, painful loss, music, discrimination and racism, and struggle.
When I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published in 1969, Angelou was hailed as a new kind of memoirist, one of the first African-American women who were able to publicly discuss their personal lives. The Caged Bird helped increase Black feminist writings in the 1970s. Angelou's poetry has also influenced the modern hip-hop music community, including artists such as Kanye West, Common, Tupac Shakur, and Nicki Minaj.
Angelou was honored by universities, literary organizations, government agencies, and special interest groups. Her honors included a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her book of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie, a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1973 play Look Away, and three Grammys for her spoken word albums. She served on two presidential committees, and was awarded the Spingarn Medal in 1994, the National Medal of Arts in 2000, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
“When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.”
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