Maya Angelou overcame abuse, racism, and sexism to become one of the most powerful voices of the Black community. Her words live permanently on.
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To conclude Black History Month, we’re honoring Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson. Maya overcame a rocky early life of abuse, sexism, and racism to become the lasting, powerful voice of the Black community that she is revered for today.
Maya grew up in the south, and was mute for 5 years after undergoing a traumatic experience. In the absence of speech, she turned to great literary authors to fill her time. A teacher encouraged poetry and eventually was able to help her find her voice again. She excelled in school and went on to earn a scholarship to the California Labor school to study drama and dance.
Though she tried to work, she often faced racism and was denied jobs based off of the color of her skin. She became the first woman streetcar conductor, waitressed, and eventually turned to prostitution and madame to support her son and herself.
In the 50s, Maya worked as a dancer and inspired her studio album ‘Miss Calypso.’ She even got to travel Europe for dance, starring in ‘Porgy and Bess.’
During the 60s, she was very involved in the civil rights movement. She developed a friendship with Martin Luther King Jr. and helped organize many events in the south.
In 1969, her most famous work was introduced to the world — ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.’ A decade later, it was adapted into t.v. and movie. Her work includes 7 biographies total.
Maya Angelou then and now, is an unwavering voice and icon for the Black community. For more about Maya Angelou, check out NowThis’ evolution of Maya Angelou.
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