Maya Angelou

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by gc20163028
Last updated 5 years ago

Social Studies
African-American History

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Maya Angelou

Early Life

Maya Angelou By: Mia West

Maya's family was a pretty small family. There was her mother Vivian Johnson, who was a nurse. Her father Bailey Johnson, who was a dietitian. Her older brother Bailey Johnson Jr. Her grandmother Annie Henderson, who owned a general store. She also married Tosh Angelos in 1951, but they divorced in 1954. Lastly, she had a son named Guy Johnson.

Marguerite Ann Johnson was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her childhood was rough. Her parents split up when she was very young, so she and her brother Bailey Jr. were sent to Arkansas to live with their father's mother Annie. Maya also had a hard time in Arkansas. She experienced much racial discrimination from people. When she was 8 years old, during a visit with her mother, she was abused by her mother's boyfriend. She was silent after the experience for about 5 years. When she was 16, she had a son named Guy, and tried hard to work many jobs to support him.


Maya went to the Lafayette County Training School and she graduated in 1940. She also went to George Washington High School. During World War 11, she moved to San Francisco where she got a scholarship to California Labor School.

Family Life

Adult Life

In the 1950's, she appeared in many movies, released an album, and starred in musicals. In 1966, she wrote "Black, Blues, Black", a 10 part television series about African culture in American life. In 1969, she wrote her first book, an autobiography about her childhood and younger adult years called "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings". In 1973, she earned a Tony Award for her role in a play called "Look Away". She wrote a poem called "Gather Together In My Name" in 1974. In 1977, she won an Emmy Award for work on a TV series called "Roots". She wrote another famous poem called "And Still I Rise" in 1978 and one called "The Heart of a Woman" in 1981. And lastly, a poem called "A Song Flew Up To Heaven" in 2002.

Early Jobs

She was a famous author/poet, dancer, actress, and Civil Rights activist.


"I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" made literary history as the best nonfiction seller by an African American. She won many awards, including a Tony Award, Emmy Award, two NAACP Awards, a Matirx Award, a Woman of the Year Award, and she was also recognized as one of the 100 best writers of the twentieth century. She even became Northern Coordinator for the SCLC and has worked with Martin Luther King Jr.


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