Born on April 4, 1928 in Saint Louis,
Missouri, Marguerite Johnson adopted the name Maya Angelou in her twenties when
she performed as a dancer at the Purple Onion cabaret. Her father, Bailey
Johnson, was a navy dietician, and her mother was Vivian Johnson. She has
one brother, Bailey, and when her parents divorced when she was three years,
they went to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. She loved
her grandmother whom she called, "momma, had a deep-brooding love that hung
over everything she touched." Growing up in Stamps, in the Deep
South, Maya learned what it was like to grow up in a white controlled
world. She wore hand me down clothes from white women, and was refused to
be seen by a white dentist. She always dreamed that her "nappy black
hair" would be transformed into long, flowing blond locks because she
thought being a white girl would be so much better. Her grandmother
instilled a strong value for religion while they lived with her.
After five years with their grandmother,
Maya's mother asked that they return to St. Louis to live with her.
Unfortunately, her mother's boyfriend raped her, and as a result she did not
talk at all for five years. Her mother did not know what to do so sent her
back to her grandmother. With the nurturing help of Mrs. Flowers, Maya
eventually grew more confident and self-assured.
Again she and her brother went to live with
her mother who was now living in San Francisco. Her mother's home seemed
to be in constant upheaval so she eventually went to live with her father
and his girlfriend in a ramshackle trailer. Maya found life to be no
more stable there so she finally found a place to stay in a car graveyard where
other homeless children lived. She had trouble maturing into an adult due
to the lack of stable role models and the constantly changing
environments. At sixteen she found herself pregnant with a son, Guy.
Due to her transcient lifestyle, Maya
experienced various jobs from working as a Creole cook, a streetcar conductor, a
cocktail waitress, a dancer, and a madam to later emerging as a singer, actress,
playwright, an editor, a lecturer and civil rights activist and a successful
writer. Her volumes include five volumes of poetry and twelve books.
At Bill Clinton's inauguration she read one of her poems "On the Pulse of
Morning"as the second person to read her own works at a Presidential
Much of her early life is recorded in her
first book, I Know Why The CagedBird Singswhich is
a wonderful story of transcendence from circumstances. Sidonie Ann Smith
describes Angelou's writing, "like Richard Wright, she opens with a primal
childhood scene that brings into focus the nature of the imprisoning environment
from which the self will seek escape". Another reader, Doris Grumbach says of her
writing in her second book, GatherTogether In My Name,
"it is apparent that Angelou is keen, sharp, earthy, imaginative, lyrical,
spiritually bold, and seems destined for distinction".
Since 1981 Dr. Angelou has been residing at Wake Forest
University as the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies, a lifetime
by Jane Harter
is not affiliated with the authors of these links nor responsible for each
- A Look Into
... Maya Angelou, born April 4, 1928 as
Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis,
was raised in segregated rural Arkansas. She is a poet, historian ...
- links and resources
... A Look into Maya Angelou Circle
Association's Maya Angelou Pages Maya Angelou
Dedication Page Another Maya Angelou Page Personal Biography for ... Description: Excellent page; links to poetry, essays,
critisms, aodios etc. of Maya Angelou
Voices From the
Gaps: Maya Angelou
Women Writers of Color. Maya Angelou. (b. 1928). ... Maya Angelou. Born April 4, 1928
in Saint Louis, Missouri, Maya Angelou's given name was Marguerite
: Teacher Resource File
Maya Angelou : Teacher Resource File. Welcome to
the Internet School Library Media
Center Maya Angelou page. ... Sep 1988.EJ492587 Maya Angelou: More Than a Poet. ...
... Author. Facts Maya Angelou, born on
April 4, 1928 as Marguerite Johnson
in St. ... Maya Angelou talks with Oprah Winfrey, September
30, 2000. ...
... Visions: Maya Angelou. ... Their
optimism gives me hope." by Ken Kelley Maya Angelou
speaks in the lilting cadence of the dancer she was trained to be. ... Description: An interview with Angelou, archived
at MoJo Wire--the Mother Jones online website.
WIC Biography - Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou. Greatness Through Literature.
poet, writer and educator, Maya Angelou has given us such best ...
Maya Angelou - Criticism
Maya Angelou: A Bibliography of Literary
Criticism. ... Angelou, Maya and Neubaeur,
Carol E. Interview in The Massachusetts Review 28.2 (1987): 286-92. ...
This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected,
associated with or authorized by the individual, family,
friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or
the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated
sites that are related to this subject will be hyper
linked below upon submission
and Evisum, Inc. review.
Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The
People. Click Here