September 12, 2012
Maya Angelo, born Marguerite Johnson, on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri Angelou is a renowned poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist. Spending most of her difficult childhood years moving back and forth to her mother's and grandmother's home, Maya faced racial discrimination while with her grandmother. At a young age Maya also dealt with the shame of being sexually molested by her mother’s boyfriend at the age of eight. This tragedy caused Maya to be silent for almost 5 years, because she thought her voice had killed the man when her uncles were actually the ones who did the crime. Maya felt that being silent was a drug of encouragement to her when she was under pressure. At the age of sixteen, Maya gave birth to her son, Guy; after she toured Europe and Africa in the musical Porgy and Bess in 1954.While there Maya also studied modern dance and had a chance to dance on a variety of television shows. Returning to New York City in the 1960s, Maya joined the Harlem Writers Guild and became involved in black activism. Maya began taking her life, her activism and her writing more seriously in 1964 when she spent several years in Ghana teaching and as editor of African Review.
Poet, Maya Angelou did not start writing until she was in her thirties. At the end of the Civil Rights struggle, one of the most turbulent times in modern American history, Maya Angelou wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in the 1960’s, which was not published until she was forty-one. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education outlawed in 1954, the Civil Rights movement gained power as increasing numbers of people rose up against intolerance and racism. As the movement gained force with sit-ins and marches, African Americans were also viciously attacked. There were beatings, church bombings, and hanging’s all across the south. The...