Black History: Special Delivery!!
Maya Angelou was born, “Marguerite Johnson” on April 4, 1928. She was nicknamed Maya (meaning “my sister”) by her brother. Angelou grew up in Stamps, Arkansas and as a child, was raised by her grandmother. At the age of 7, while visiting her mother in Chicago, Angelou was sexually molested by her mother’s boyfriend. Angelou was ashamed to tell an adult, so she told her brother. She found out later that one of her uncles killed her attacker. Angelou felt that her words had killed the man and as a result did not speak for 5 year until she was 13. Angelou is the mother of one son named, Guy who she had at age 16. Angelou led a colorful and storied life. Though she never went to college, she was the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees.
Though many know Angelou as a prolific author and poet, she held many other careers during her lifetime including, actress, prostitute, university professor, dancer, singer, newspaper editor, and civil rights advocate just to name a few. In addition to her various career endeavors, Angelou was also fluent in six other languages besides English ( French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and the West African language, Fanti), Over the course of her life, Angelou published 7 autobiographies, 3 books of essays, and several books of poetry. Angelou had a close relationship with Oprah Winfrey and considered her to be the daughter she never had. Another fact about Maya Angelou that many are unaware of is that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 which was also Angelou’s birthday. For many years following King’s death, Angelou did not celebrate her birthday.
The video clip above was filmed in 2010 when Angelou appeared on “Bobby Jones Gospel”. In the clip, she recites her poem, “The Mask”. It is a powerful piece that will have you smiling, laughing, crying, and for sure celebrating the life of this powerful woman! Angelou died on May 28, 2014. She was truly the epitome of a PHENOMENAL WOMAN!
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April 5, 2016 at 2:00 am
One of my sheroes.
April 5, 2016 at 7:41 am
Oh yes. That poem has me in tears!
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