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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's artistic creativity for life lives on

Kobina "Byo" Annan, Jr.

June 06, 2014

Maya Angelou born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4,1928 was an American author, poet, dancer, and singer. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television

shows spanning more than 50 years. She received dozens of awards and over 30 honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her early life up to the age of seven and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, prostitute, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization. From 1982, she taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she held the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem " On the Pulse of Morning" (1993) at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.

With the publication of I Know Why Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson of black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of Black culture. Attempts have been made to ban her books from US libraries, but her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. Angelou's major works have a been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics have characterized them as autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel.

From 1962 to 1965 Maya Angelou lived in Ghana. She became an administrator at the University of Ghana, and was active in the African-American expatriate community. She was a feature editor for The African Review, a freelance writer for the Ghanaian Times, wrote and broadcast for Radio Ghana, and worked and performed for Ghana's National Theatre. In Accra, she became close friends with Malcolm X during his visit in the early 1960s.

Angelou returned to the U.S. in 1965 to help him build a new civil rights organization, the Organization of Afro- American Unity, he was assassinated shortly afterward.

Angelou continued with her efforts to uplift African and African American culture through her poems, theatrical performances, movies, books....

Angelou died on the morning of May 28, 2014. She was found by her nurse. Although she had reportedly been in poor health and canceled recent scheduled appearances, she was working on another book, an autobiography about her experiences with national and world leaders. Tributes to Angelou and condolences were paid by artists, entertainers, and world leaders including President Barack Obama.

On May 29, 2014, Mount Zion Bapist Church in Winston- Salem, of which Angelou was a member for 30 years, held a public memorial service to her.

May your legacy continue to have tremendous impact on the youth and our future.


Kobina, "Boyo" Annan, Jr

New York, New York



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Maya Angelou's artistic creativity for life lives on
Personality, June 06, Ghanadot - Maya Angelou born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4,1928 was an American author, poet, dancer, and singer. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television......


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