Maya Angelou - the Person and the Poet

    Maya Angelou is a very triumphant woman.   She has written many
books and poems that have given her great success.   If one would talk
to her, he or she would think she has lead a normal, happy life.   Her
life is blissful now, but it wasnt always perfect.   Maya Angelous
sorrowful life experiences inspired her to write autobiographical
works of poetry.

    Maya Angelou was born April 4, 1928 as Marguerite Johnson in St.
Louis. She was raised in segregated rural Arkansas. She came from a
broken home. Angelou was raped at eight, and was an unwed mother at 16
years old (Williams 1).   In spite of her tragic childhood, she still
managed to become one of the greatest black poets of the twentieth
century (Williams 1).

    Angelou is a poet, an author, a historian, an actress, a
playwright, a civil-rights activist, a producer, and a director.   Ms.
Angelou began her career in drama and dance, and she married a South
African freedom fighter and lived in Cairo.   Later she also taught in
Ghana. In the 1960's she said that being black, female, non-Muslim,
non-Arab, six foot tall, and American made for some interesting
experiences during her stay in Africa (Williams 1).                  

    Ms. Angelou accomplished many things in her life.   She was the
northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She was also appointed
to the Bicentennial Commission by President Gerald Ford, the National
Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year by Jimmy
Carter, and in 1993 she wrote and delivered the presidential
inauguration for President Bill Clinton.                              

    Maya Angelou is a decorated author.   She has been nominated for
two Emmy awards and has won a Pulitzer Prize.   She is also a highly
cultured person. She can speak English, French, Spanish, Italian, and
West African Fanti.   And many of her poems can inspire...