ﻣﻮﻗﻊ ﺻﺪﻱ اﻟﺒﻠﺪ

Supervisor
Elham AbolFateh

Features

Who is Maya Angelou?

Wednesday 04/April/2018 - 10:53 AM
Sada El Balad

GROWING up as a black woman in 1930s America was never going to be easy، the sun reported.

But her difficult upbringing was something poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou took in her stride.

Here's everything you need to know about the legendary author.

Who is Maya Angelou?
Maya was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St Louis، Missouri، USA، on April 4، 1928.

After a troubled childhood، Maya lived a long and happy life - eventually passing away in 2014، at the age of 86.


Her autobiographical novel، I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings، catapulted Maya into the public eye. It tells the story of her life up to the age of 17.

After opening up about her early years Maya، who worked as a prostitute and nightclub dancer in her youth، became known as a respected spokesperson for black people and women.

Her books explore the issues of race، identity، family and travel.

What happened to Maya Angelou during her childhood?
At the age of three، and in the wake of her parents' divorce، Maya and her brother Bailey Jr، four، were sent on a train to live with their grandma Annie Henderson in Stamps، Arkansas.

Four years later، without warning، their dad Bailey Johnson Sr came to Stamps and took the kids to live with their mum Vivian Johnson.

When she was just eight years old، Maya was raped by Vivian's boyfriend، a man named Freeman.

She told her brother، and Freeman was found guilty of rape - but jailed for just one day.

Four days after his release from prison، Freeman was murdered - in an act of revenge thought to be carried out by Maya's uncles.

Maya was horrified، and did not speak for five years. She explained: "I thought، my voice killed him; I killed that man، because I told his name.

"And then I thought I would never speak again، because my voice would kill anyone..."

Three weeks after Maya left school، when she was 17، she gave birth to her son Clyde - who later changed his name to Guy Johnson.
How did Maya Angelou become an author?
Maya moved to New York in 1959، to concentrate on her writing career، and joined the Harlem Writers Guild.

Until then، Maya had been working as a calypso dancer، and released the album Miss Calypso in 1957 - which she later re-released in 1996.

Maya met civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr in 1960، and was inspired to become an activist.

In 1968، Martin Luther King asked Maya to organise a march. She agreed but he was assassinated on her 40th birthday، before the march took place.

Maya's friend James Baldwin eventually pulled a devastated Maya out of her depression - and she published I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969.

Why has Maya Angelou been honoured with a Google Doodle?
Angelou was immortalised in a Google Doodle to celebrate what would have been her 90th birthday.

She died in 2014 aged 86 but not before she was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Comments

ads

Poll

What do you think about our new design?

What do you think about our new design?
ads