Biography of Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou Biography

Maya Angelou is an amazing American author, poet, entertainer, actress, playwright, producer and director, historian and civil rights activist. She is best known for her portrayals of strong African American women.

Born April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. Maya Angelou's given name was Marguerite Johnson, Maya and her brother Bailey spent most of their childhood living with their grandmother in rural Arkansas. Maya grew up in Stamps and learned what it was like to be a black girl in a world whose boundaries were set by whites. After five years of living with her grandmother she moved back to her mother's home in Missouri. This was a bad turn for her, when her mothers' boyfriend raped her. This violent act sent Maya to become mute for nearly five years. She was sent back to live with her grandmother because no one could stand the state she was in. Angelou's whole childhood was moving back and forth from her mother's house to her grandmother's house. This caused her to struggle with maturity. She became determined to prove she was a woman and began to rush toward maturity. She soon found herself pregnant, and at the age of sixteen she delivered her son, Guy and began a series of jobs, including cooking and waiting tables. In the 1950s she became a nightclub performer and began careers as a singer, dancer, actor, playwright, magazine editor, civil rights activist, poet, and novelist.

Much of Angelou's writing stresses the themes of courage, perseverance, self-acceptance, and realization of one's full potential. In her works she frequently presents strong female role models. Her most writings includes her autobiographical books, which starts with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), which she describes African American life in, humorous, intelligent language rich in rhythm and texture. Her second book Gather Together in My Name (1974) focuses on Maya and her brother moving away from their grandmother. This takes place from her...
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