Who Is Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Biography

Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist. She was born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and had a difficult childhood, including a period of time where she was mute for several years. She began her career as a singer and dancer and later became a civil rights activist, working with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Angelou's writing career began in the 1960s, with the publication of her first autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in 1969. The book was critically acclaimed and was nominated for the National Book Award. She went on to write several other books, including poetry, essays, and further volumes of autobiography, and was considered one of the most renowned and influential voices in modern literature.

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Angelou was also a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, and her work often dealt with themes of identity, race, and the human condition. She was also a sought-after speaker and gave many lectures and speeches, including a poem at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Angelou received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including several honorary degrees, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Lincoln Medal. She passed away in 2014 at the age of 86.

Maya Angelou Fast Facts

* Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent much of her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas.
* She began her career as a singer and dancer before becoming a civil rights activist in the 1960s, working with figures such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
* In 1969, Angelou published her first book, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," an autobiographical account of her childhood and early adult years. The book was a critical and commercial success and established Angelou as a prominent author and speaker.
* Angelou went on to publish several more books, including several volumes of poetry, essays, and several other autobiographies.
* She was also a respected and sought-after speaker, and gave lectures at colleges and universities across the United States.
* Angelou was also a playwright, director, and actor, and appeared in several films and television shows.
* In 1993, she recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton, making her the first African American and the first woman to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration.
* Angelou received numerous honors throughout her career, including over 30 honorary degrees, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Lincoln Medal.
* Maya Angelou is remembered as a powerful voice for civil rights and equality, and her work continues to inspire and influence people around the world.
* She was also an important figure in American literature and poetry, and her works have been widely studied in schools and universities.
* Angelou was also a vocal advocate for women's rights and equality, and her work often explored themes of race, identity, and the human experience.
* She was a mentor and friend to many, including Oprah Winfrey, and has been an inspiration to countless people with her powerful words, wisdom and her personal journey.
* Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the age of 86.
* Her legacy continues to live on through her books, poetry, speeches, and her work as a civil rights activist. Her words and teachings are still widely quoted and shared, and continue to inspire people to this day.

Maya Angelou Top Quotes

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." (Meaning)

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." (Meaning)

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." (Meaning)

"If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." (Meaning)

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." (Meaning)

"If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love." (Meaning)

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently." (Meaning)

"Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible." (Meaning)

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"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." (Meaning)

"We all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it." (Meaning)

"You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot" (Meaning)

"Nothing will work unless you do." (Meaning)

"The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free." (Meaning)

"The wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me." (Meaning)

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." (Meaning)

"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody." (Meaning)

"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." (Meaning)

"A wise woman wishes to be no one's enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone's victim." (Meaning)

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." (Meaning)

"All great achievements require time." (Meaning)

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"Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean." (Meaning)

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning." (Meaning)

"Good done anywhere is good done everywhere." (Meaning)

"The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are." (Meaning)

"You shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back." (Meaning)

"Eating is so intimate. It's very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you're inviting a person into your life." (Meaning)

"Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time." (Meaning)

"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency." (Meaning)

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." (Meaning)

"There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth." (Meaning)

"Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it." (Meaning)

"What is a fear of living? It's being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself - for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don't know what you're here to do, then just do some good." (Meaning)

"Giving liberates the soul of the giver." (Meaning)

"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself." (Meaning)

"I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too." (Meaning)

"I got my own back." (Meaning)

"You have to develop ways so that you can take up for yourself, and then you take up for someone else. And so sooner or later, you have enough courage to really stand up for the human race and say, 'I'm a representative.'" (Meaning)

- Maya Angelou Quotes


* The editor of this short biography made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any quotes, facts, or key life events. If you're looking to expand your personal development, I recommend exploring other people's life stories and gaining inspiration from my collection of inspiring quotes. Exposing yourself to different perspectives can broaden your worldview and help you with your personal growth.

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Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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