One fact about the poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is that she was born Marguerite Annie Johnson. Her professional name is a combination of her childhood nickname "Maya," which her brother Bailey bestowed on her, and the shortened nickname of her first husband Anastasios Angelopulos, a Greek sailor and aspiring musician. Angelou's most celebrated literary work was her autobiographical book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."Know More
A natural performer, Angelou attended the California Labor School where she won a scholarship to study acting and dance. She became pregnant her last year in high school, and a few weeks after graduation, she gave birth to her only son Clyde "Guy" Johnson. Angelou took a variety of jobs to support herself and her son. She even became the first black female cable car conductor in San Francisco, a position she held briefly before giving birth.
Angelou was a poet, songwriter, actor, dancer, historian, director, playwright, civil rights activist and teacher. She was friends with Martin Luther King Jr., who died on her birthday, prompting Angelou to stop celebrating her birthday. She wrote "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" after encouragement from her friend James Baldwin. She was also friends with Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey.Learn more about Poetry
Maya Angelo's first book of poetry included well-known poems such as "They Went Home," "No Loser, No Weeper," "The Mothering Blackness" and "When I Think About Myself." She is also well-known for her autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."Full Answer >
In an interview with the Academy of Achievement, Maya Angelou shared that she wrote "Phenomenal Woman" for women everywhere, saying, "I wrote it for black women, and white women, and Chinese women, and Japanese women, and Jewish women. I wrote it for Native American women, Aleut, Eskimo ladies. I wrote it for all women. Very fat women, very thin, pretty, plain." It was first published in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1978.Full Answer >
Maya Angelou's famous poem is "Caged Bird," published in the book "Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?" in 1983. The poem is six stanzas long and deals with the themes of slavery and oppression while maintaining a strong and hopeful tone.Full Answer >
The poem "Alone," by Maya Angelou, is written as the narrator's bedtime musings about life and its meaning. The poem's speaker is lying in bed thinking and searching for answers when she realizes she has the answer. She concludes that people need each other because no one successfully faces life alone.Full Answer >