Inspirational Poems BiographySource(google.com.pk)
Maya Angelou biography. When Marguerite Annie Johnson was born on April 4th 1928 in St Louis Missouri, few black people could have imagined how far she would come. Life didn't start out very well when her parents divorced when she was just three years old and she and her brother were sent to live with her grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.
On a visit back with her mother when she was seven, her mother's boyfriend molested and raped her. She confided in her brother who told the rest of the family and the suspect was soon arrested and charged. He was found guilty but only spent one day in jail, but four days after he was released he was found dead from assault. Believing through having spoken his name she was responsible, she refused to speak and stayed silent and mute for five years.
She credits a teacher, Miss Flowers, for getting her to speak again by introducing her to the works of poets and scribes the likes of Dickens, Shakespeare and black female writers Anne Spencer and Jessie Faucet.
She won a scholarship to study drama at the San Fransisco Labor School, but also had to find work as (the first African American woman) cable car conductor before she would graduate. She fell pregnant with her son Clyde (later renamed Guy) and had to work as waitress and cook to support him as a single parent.
In 1949 she met and married a Greek sailor Tosh Angelos but the marriage only lasted three years. When she took up a position as a night club singer she changed her name to Maya Angelou (from her brother's childhood nickname for her and a derivation of her husband's surname). In 1954 and 1955 she toured with the production of the opera Porgy and Bess through Europe. And in 1957 released her first album Calypso.
Her the Maya Angelou biography takes on a new direction as she decided to pursue her writing, she moved to New York where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild. In New York she fell in love with the South African civil rights activist, Vusumzi Make, and they later moved to Cairo where she took up a position as editor for the English language newspaper, The Arab Observer.
Her relationship with Make didn't work out and she moved to Ghana in 1962 where she lectured in drama at Ghana University. She also wrote articles and editorial pieces for several African newspapers. With all her time abroad, she put in a lot of effort into learning the local languages and learned French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Fanti.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Source: Flickr - chemafoces While in Ghana she met Malcolm X and returned to America to help him with his vision for a new civil rights movement. However, soon after her arrival back in the States, he was assassinated and his vision died with him. Maya Angelou did more civil rights work as she assisted Martin Luther King with his Christian Leadership Conference. She was left devastated when he was assassinated on her birthday in 1968. A good friend, the writer James Baldwin, encourage her to use her grief to inspire her writing which led to her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings .
The book was internationally and critically acclaimed and got her worldwide recognition. It was a new style of autobiographical work which detailed the Maya Angelou biography up until her son was born. It inspired people across the spectrum - from feminists, to civil rights activists, and is still one of the most challenged books in school curriculum and in libraries. In the late 70's she met Oprah Winfrey and later became her friend and mentor. She released several follow-up biographical pieces about the rest of her life, though none were as widely or critically acclaimed as the first.
In 1981 she became Reynolds Professor at Wake Forrest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and was and is still very popular on the lecture circuit. In 1993 she became only the second poet to recite their own prose at a presidential inauguration (the first was Robert Frost at Kennedy's inauguration). She recited her poem, On the pulse of Morning, at Bill Clinton's inauguration, which led sales of her books to skyrocket.
The Maya Angelou biography shows that one may be born into a prejudiced society, one may have had a turbulent childhood, and have to take care of a child as a single parent, but the only way to keep going is to get up when life tries to knock you down. Yet, despite all the cruelness in the world, there is bountiful beauty to be found and I'd like to finish off with one of Maya Angelou's quotes: "Life loves the liver of it." so go out and live your life!