Grammy-winning Author and Poet Maya Angelou.

Black History Month Profiles: Grammy-winning author and poet Maya Angelou.

  1. Maya Angelou was a renowned author, poet, public speaker, and civil rights, activist. Many of her works won awards and will be remembered throughout history.
  2. Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 and fluent in six different languages which included Spanish, Italian, Arabic.
  3. She was the first Black Streetcar Conductor in San Francisco in 1944.
  4. She told Oprah how hard she strived to work for the company by staging a sit-in.
  5. "I sat there (at the office) for two weeks, every day. And then after two weeks, a man came out of his office and said 'come here.' And he asked me 'why do you want the job?' I said 'I like the uniforms.' And I said 'and I like people.' And so I got the job." - wnyc
  6. In 1975, Angelou became one of the first African American women to join the Directors Guild of America. When learning of her passing, DGA President Paris Barclay made the following statement about DGA's former member:
  7. "....Never one to shy away from new experiences, she went on to make her feature directing debut at the age of 70.The DGA had the great pleasure of honoring Dr. Angelou in 2004 at our African American Steering Committee’s ‘Tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou: Master Storyteller.’ On a personal note, one of my earliest professional directing jobs was helming an adaptation of one of her short stories; her provocative words and passionate voice continue to echo in my head. We are proud to count her among our ranks." - IndieWire
  8. Before passing, Angelou won numerous awards including 3 Grammys for:
  9. 1994 - On the Pulse of Morning
  10. 1996 - Phenomenal women
  11. 2002 - A Song Flung Up to Heaven
  12. As a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Maya worked a short stint with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  13. MLK was killed on what would have been Angelou's 40th birthday. She took the passing of MLK very her which lead her to no longer celebrating her birthday due to the loss of her close friend.
  14. Angelou went to school for dancing but was also known for her work on the silver and big screen. Performances included the award-winning miniseries Roots on ABC, and multiple appearances on Sesame Street.
  15. She was also nominated for a Tony Award in 1973 in the category of Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for the Broadway play Look Away.
  16. She was the second poet ever to to write and read for the Presidential Inauguration.
  17. "Bill Clinton tapped her to be the second poet ever to read an original work at a Presidential Inauguration, following in the footsteps of Robert Frost, who recited “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration." - TIME
  18. In 2011, at the age of 82, she was awarded Angelou the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
  19. Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014 in Winston-Salem, NC.

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