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Maya Angelou Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (27) | Personal Quotes (22)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 4 April 1928St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Date of Death 28 May 2014Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Birth NameMarguerite Annie Johnson
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Marguerite Annie Johnson. She was an actress and writer, known for Good Hair (2009), As Seen Through These Eyes (2008) and The Richard Pryor Special? (1977). She was married to Paul Bernard Du Feu and Thomas J. (Tosh) Angelos. She died on May 28, 2014 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.

Spouse (2)

Paul Bernard Du Feu (18 January 1974 - 31 January 1983) (divorced)
Thomas J. (Tosh) Angelos (3 July 1951 - 1973) (divorced)

Trivia (27)

Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1986.
She read her poem "On the Pulse Into Morning" at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993, only the second poet asked to compose and deliver a poem at a US Presidential Inauguration, after Robert Frost at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
She was the first black and female cable car conductor in San Francisco.
Her nickname "Maya" came from her older brother, Bailey, who called her "My" and "Mine".
She recorded an album for Liberty Records in 1957 titled "Miss Calypso".
At age seven, Maya was raped by her mother's boyfriend. She wasn't going to tell anyone, but her brother Bailey persuaded her to tell him who raped her. As a result, the man was killed. Maya believed her spoken word caused his death, and as a result refused to speak for years.
Mother of Guy B. Johnson, author of the novel "Standing at the Scratch Line" (2001) and 'Echoes of a Distant Summer: A Novel" (2011).
Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1998.
The title of her memoir "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" comes from the poem "Sympathy" (specifically, the last stanza) by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Attended and graduated from George Washington High School in San Francisco, California, USA.
Honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 133, pp. 14-25. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1973 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) as Mary Lincoln confidant Elizabeth Keckley in "Look Away.".
Spoke fluent French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and West African Fanti.
She was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 2000 by the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington D.C.
Thanked by Fiona Apple in the liner notes of her album "Tidal".
She recorded an album with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, called "Been Found" in 1996.
Considered Oprah Winfrey, her dear friend and the daughter she always wanted, while Oprah considered her as "a mother-sister-friend" and "one of the greatest influences in her entire life".
Toured Europe and Africa in an American production cast of 'Porgy and Bess' between 1954 and 1955.
Hosted and was a subject-matter expert for the instructional telecourse "Humanities Through the Arts".
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011.
She had been awarded more than thirty honorary college and university degrees.
Was narrator for "Hall of Presidents" at Walt Disney Theme Parks following Rex Allen.
Pictured on a USA 'forever' commemorative postage stamp issued 7 April 2015. Price on day of issue was 49¢.
Inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1993 (inaugural class).
Upon her death, she was cremated, her ashes were scattered.
Her mother, Vivian Althea Baxter Wilburn, had her when she was 16.

Personal Quotes (22)

Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style.
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.
At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.
The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.
Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.
Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.
Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.
On love: The loss of young first love is so painful that it borders on the ludicrous.
On childhood: Few, if any survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity.
On experience: A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.
[observation at 85] I've still not written as well as I want to. I want to write so that the reader in Des Moines, Iowa, in Kowloon, China, in Cape Town, South Africa can say, 'You know, that's the truth. I wasn't there , and I wasn't a six-foot black girl, but that's the truth'.
I like to have guns around. I don't like to carry them.
I think men are as crazy as they were, and women as crazy as they were.. I've never had a dislike for men. I've been badly mistreated by some. But I've been loved greatly by some. I married a lot of them.
[on reconnecting with her mother who had abandoned her ten years before] I didn't know her. I didn't trust her. But I began to like her because she was kind. I said, 'I'd like to call you Lady'. She told everybody, "Call me Lady from now on'. Amazing. And she was kind to people, all sorts of people - white ones and black ones and Spanish-speaking ones. If they needed something, my mother was the one.
[on Michelle Obama] Philosophers tell us that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Mrs. Obama is as if it doesn't touch her. She hasn't tried to become anybody else's idea of First Lady. She has remained herself, with her grace, her gentleness, and her sense of humor. That she would dare to wear clothes off the rack, or go out and garden, or have a grandmother in the White House - she knows how to be a public figure without being separate from her family.
[on the George Zimmerman acquittal] A number of people think that only blacks were hurt, that African Americans were hurt by this decision, but that is not true. All you have to do is look at the protesters - they are white and black, Spanish-speaking and Asian. What is really injured - bruised if you will - is the psyche of our national population. We are all harmed. We are all belittled, and we give to the rest of the world more ammunition to sneer at us. It really makes me see how far we have to go, that one man armed with a gun can actually profile a young man because he is black and end up shooting him dead. It is so painful.
By love I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound, it encourages us to the develop courage and then bridges, and then to trust those bridges and cross the bridges in attempts to reach other human beings.
[describing herself] A too- big Negro girl, with nappy black hair, broad feet, and a space between her teeth that would hold a number-two pencil.
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.
Success is liking yourself.
If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.

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