Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928. Angelou is an internationally respected poet, writer, educator actress, producer and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. She has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer."

Angelou is known for her series of six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (1969) which was nominated for a National Book Award. Her volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Angelou produced and starred in the great play Cabaret for Freedom and starred in The Blacks. She wrote the original screenplay and musical score for the film Georgia, Georgia and was both author and executive producer of a five-part television miniseries, Three Way Choice.

Angelou's accomplishments have earned her the Ladies' Home Journal Woman of the Year Award and a Matrix Award in the field of books. She received the Golden Eagle Award for her documentary, Americans in the Arts, produced by PBS. She is one of the women admitted into the Director's Guild. In 1974, she was appointed by Gerald Ford to the Bi-Centennial Commission and later by Jimmy Carter to the Commission for International Woman of the Year.

Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993 (view video clip here). She has been highly honored for her body of work, including being awarded over 30 honorary degrees.

CLICK HERE to watch video interviews of Maya Angelou, from

Learn more about her life and her many accomplishments by visiting the resources below:

  • Maya Angelou Biography from

  • Maya Angelou's Official Website

  • - Maya Angelou

  • Selected Poems by Maya Angelou

    Sources: WIC Biography,

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