Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928.
When Maya Angelou was just eight, she was raped by her mother’sboyfriend and for the next five years was mute. At 16, she gave birth to a son.
Maya Angelou is best known for her autobiographical books: ‘All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes’, ‘The Heart of a Woman’, ‘Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas’, ‘Gather Together in My Name’, and ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, which was nominated for the National Book Award.
She worked with Martin Luther King (and refused to celebrate her birthday for many years because it fell on the day of his assassination).
In 1993, Angelou wrote and delivered a poem, “On The Pulse of the Morning,” at the inauguration for President Bill Clinton at his request.
According to The Observer: “During the weeks before President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, Maya Angelou began work at 5.30 every morning in a hotel room and with the help of sherry, a dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus and the Bible, tried to write a poem. She filled six yellow pads but still no luck. She phoned her friend Jessica Mitford ‘quite distraught, in a terrible state with the responsibility of it, trying to meet the deadline. But we knew she would pull it off. She’s a superstar.’”