About This Author

Maya Angelou

Angelou reciting her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at US President Bill Clinton's inauguration, January 20, 1993
Angelou reciting her poem " On the Pulse of Morning " at US President Bill Clinton's inauguration, January 20, 1993

Born

Marguerite Annie JohnsonApril 4, 1928 St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.

Died

May 28, 2014Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.

Occupation

  • Writer
  • poet
  • civil rights activist

Period

1951–2014

Subject

  • Memoir
  • poetry

Notable works

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • " On the Pulse of Morning "

Spouses

  • Tosh Angelos ( m.  1951; div.  1954)
  • Paul du Feu ( m.  1974; div.  1983)

Children

1

Website

www .mayaangelou .com

Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was an actress, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. In 1982, she was named the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the first inauguration of Bill Clinton, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.

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Discover Maya Angelou Quotes and Sayings

Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art. - Maya Angelou

Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.

Maya Angelou

life art author poet adventure
They may not remember what you said. They may not remember what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

They may not remember what you said. They may not remember what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders. - Maya Angelou

We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.

Maya Angelou

alone
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. - Maya Angelou

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

Maya Angelou

anger
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. - Maya Angelou

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

Maya Angelou

attitude change
It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. - Maya Angelou

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

Maya Angelou

beauty strength time
The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind. - Maya Angelou

The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.

Maya Angelou

change
Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage. - Maya Angelou

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

Maya Angelou

courage
My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. - Maya Angelou

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.

Maya Angelou

courage great hope love work
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. - Maya Angelou

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

Maya Angelou

courage history
One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. - Maya Angelou

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

Maya Angelou

courage
My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors. - Maya Angelou

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.

Maya Angelou

education
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible. - Maya Angelou

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

Maya Angelou

future
While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation. - Maya Angelou

While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation.

Maya Angelou

god
Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him. - Maya Angelou

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

Maya Angelou

good
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. - Maya Angelou

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

great