Known for her first autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou was an award winning American author, poet, dancer, singer and human rights activist.
Born on 4th April 1928 in Missouri, United States, Marguerite Annie Johnson was the 2nd child in her family. Her memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, based on her life before turning 17 made her an international star. It was named as the first nonfiction bestseller by an African-American woman and one that encouraged black feminist writing in the 70s. Angelou was acknowledged as a proxy for blacks and women.

She received over 50 honorary degrees, won a Grammy award for ‘Best Spoken World Album’ for the audio version of her poems. She continued to write even in her old age when her health was failing. She died at home in North Carolina on 28th May 2014 from health-related issues.

Angelou’s childhood was rather dramatic; with the end of her parents’ marriage, her father sent her and her brother to their wealthy paternal grandparent by train unaccompanied. He later picked them up an announced and sent them back to their mother. During the stay at her mother’s place, Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend; he was jailed but released after a day. The man was murdered four days later and Angelou went mute for the next five years.

During the mute period, Angelou developed amazing memory, became a keen listener and observer with a great fondness for literature. Her teacher helped her access the best books at the time. With these traits, Angelou went on to write seven autobiographies, three books of essays, poems, plays and even composed music for other people. Some of her work has been used on films and TV.

Though she got married several times, she kept most of her relationships secret but her first marriage to a Greek electrician, Tosh Angelos is the well-known. She had one son whom she bore at the age of 17, Guy (Clyde) Johnson.

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning. Maya Angelou

 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou

 

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs,
is good for him. Maya Angelou

 

Whenever I want to laugh, I read a wonderful book, ‘Children’s Letters to God.’  You can open it anywhere. One I read recently said, ‘Dear God, thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.’ Maya Angelou

 

A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim. Maya Angelou

 

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. Maya Angelou

 

All great achievements require time. Maya Angelou

 

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,  but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou

 

Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time. Maya Angelou

 

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou

 

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion,  some humor, and some style. Maya Angelou

 

 

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