38 Maya Angelou Activist Writer Interesting Fun Facts

38 Maya Angelou Activist Writer Interesting Fun Facts

(Last Updated On: February 10, 2021)

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) was an American writer, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet, and civil rights activist with many significat success facts. Best identified for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, this trailblazing girl led a vibrant life full of accomplishments.

Maya Angelou facts

She had a troublesome childhood and needed to battle as a teenage mom before she achieved reasonable success as a performer. Maya Angelou rose to worldwide fame when her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings grew to become a bestseller. She wrote six more autobiographies, the final one as late as 2013, at the age of 85.

Angelou was near a number of people in her life together with her mom Vivian, her brother Bailey and her son Guy. Know in regards to the family, life, relationships, profession, and death from these Maya Angelou facts.

1. Her childhood years have been spent mute

Angelou has publicly spoken in regards to the trauma that resulted in her going mute for 5 years, however, there may be a lot to be mentioned about these essential years. After being raped by her mom’s boyfriend at the age of seven, the abuser was solely jailed for in the future.

After telling her family in regards to the horrific incident, a day after his launch he was murdered. Angelou believed this to be her fault for opening her mouth and stated “I thought my voice killed him; I killed that man because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again because my voice would kill anyone …”

Angelou additionally credits her brother as one of many people to convey her out of this time of muteness, Maya Angelou interesting facts.

2. Martin Luther King Jr. died on her 40th birthday

In 1960, Maya Angelou met Martin Luther King Jr., leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. She participated in the motion by organizing and starring within the musical revue Cabaret for Freedom to profit the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). She additionally served as SCLC’s northern coordinator.

In 1968, King was in contact with Angelou concerning civil rights activism however on April 4, he was assassinated. Incidentally, it was the 40th birthday of Maya Angelou. Due to this, Angelou didn’t have fun on her birthday for years. She additionally despatched flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, until Coretta died in 2006.

3. She described her relationship along with her mother in her ultimate autobiography

Maya Angelou’s relationship along with her mom, Vivian Baxter Johnson, grew after she grew to become pregnant with Guy. Vivian supported Angelou by way of the delivery of her son, regardless that on the time single teenage moms have been usually shamed and pushed into marrying the newborn’s father.

While she was struggling to be impartial and elevating a child, Angelou knew she might flip to her mom for assistance if required. Maya explored her relationship along with her mom within the seventh and ultimate book in her sequence of autobiographies.

Angelou believed that whereas Vivian was a horrible mom of babies, she was the most effective possible mom Angelou might have as a younger grownup, Maya Angelou facts.

4. She had an inspiring grandmother

When Angelou was three years old, she and her older brother, Bailey Jr., have been despatched to Stamps, Arkansas to dwell along with her paternal grandmother. Her grandmother, Annie Henderson (whom Angelou knew as “momma”) was a toddler of a former slave and the one black particular person in Stamps to personal a basic retailer on the town.

Her grandmother can also be with whom Angelou credits her capacity to learn; Annie Henderson would convey back books from the native all-white colleges and taught Angelou and her brother tips on how to learn.

5. Angelou was at all times truthful and sincere ― even when it got here to sex.

Angelou was an exquisite, towering teenager who had attracted the eye of a younger boy who had expressed sexual curiosity in her. One day, Angelou, who stated she had seen movies about sex that spiked her curiosity, stated she approached the younger boy and the 2 had sex at a pal’s home.

Although it was her first time having sexual activity, Angelou admitted that the experience had been underwhelming. “I asked him ‘Is that all there is?” she stated within the movie. “So I said, ‘Ok, bye.’ And a month later I found out I was pregnant.”, Maya Angelou important facts.

6. She has had two interracial marriages, each of which ended shortly after they started.

Maya Angelou met and wed Tosh Angelos in 1951. He was a Greek sailor who had shared a deep love for studying. This was a big deal at the time contemplating the racial tensions that existed and the polarizing points around interracial marriages.

She stated her mom had initially been disgusted along with her for marrying a white man and later fell for him, even expressing disappointment when the couple divorced lower than 5 years later. She later wed Paul du Feu, a white author, in 1973 however divorced lower than a decade later.

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7. She labored in nightclubs and shortly gained publicity for her singing and dancing. She quickly grew to become referred to as Ms. Calypso.

In the 1950s, Angelou labored in nightclubs and strip golf equipment in San Francisco. While she didn’t strip off her garments, she did exhibit her fabulous dance strikes and would sing Calypso songs at any time when she went out.

She was later invited to sing Calypso at native venues and have become referred to as Ms. Calpyso, performing in venues at a time when stars like Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr. hit their peak.

8. She famously recited her poem at Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration

In 1973, Maya Angelou married Welsh carpenter, Paul du Feu, in San Francisco. Their marriage lasted for around eight years until they obtained divorced in 1981. A similar year, Angelou’s grandson, Colin, was kidnapped by her ex-daughter in regulation after she lost custody.

It would take 4 long years until Colin was discovered and introduced back dwelling. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” on the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, Maya Angelou interesting facts.

She thus grew to become the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost did the identical in 1961 at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. After the recitation, the gross sales of her works rose by 300 – 600 %.

Maya Angelou died on the morning of May 28, 2014, at her dwelling in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was 86 years old. Angelou acquired quite a few honors throughout her life together with the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

9. She labored as a sex employee for a short interval throughout her teenagers

From the age of 17 to 19, Angelou went by way of quite a lot of jobs and relationships to offer for her son. During this time, she pimped for a lesbian couple and have become a prostitute herself for a brief period.

Later, after turning into an esteemed icon, Maya Angelou didn’t really feel disgrace at her previous or make any try to cover up these troublesome years of her life.

She, in truth, wrote about them within the second book in her sequence of autobiographies, Gather Together in My Name. Also, throughout this era, Angelou nearly averted being getting hooked on medicine and virtually lost her son resulting from a kidnapping.

10. She was a three-time Grammy winner

Angelou received three Grammys in her lifetime: the first one was for a poem she wrote and recited at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. She was the first black poet to present at a presidential inauguration.

It was referred to as “On The Pulse of Morning” and received the Best Spoken Word award. She continued on to win two more, in 1996 for Best Spoken Word Album, and once more in 2003.

11. Angelou had a short relationship with South African freedom fighter Vusumzi Make

In the mid-1950s, Angelou’s profession as a performer started to take off. During 1954–55, she obtained a task in touring manufacturing of the opera Porgy and Bess, and in 1957, her first album Miss Calypso was launched. Miss Calypso was a reasonable success however Angelou didn’t make any additional information as a singer.

Angelou started concentrating on her writing profession by the late 1950s. In 1961–62, she had a relationship with South African freedom fighter Vusumzi Make and moved with Make to Cairo, alongside her son.

After her relationship with Make ended, Angelou moved to Accra, the capital of Ghana. In truth, she spent a lot of the 1960s overseas. She took varied jobs throughout this era, together with that of an editor and a contract author in journals; and that of an administrator at the University of Ghana.

12. She was the first black feminine streetcar conductor

There doesn’t appear to be a hat she hasn’t worn. When Angelou was in high faculty, she sought out a job as a streetcar conductor, Maya Angelou facts.

After initially being denied a number of instances based mostly on the color of her pores and skin, her perseverance received in the long run. She grew to become the first black streetcar conductor, feminine no much less. “I loved the uniforms,” Angelou stated.

13. She as soon as had a heart-to-heart dialogue with Tupac that prompted his mom Afeni Shakur to write down Angelou a thanks notice.

Director John Singleton invited Angelou to be part of his iconic 1993 movie “Poetic Justice” featuring rapper Tupac Shakur and singer Janet Jackson.

Angelou, who made a cameo within the film, talked about how she met Shakur for the first time on the set of the movie in the future whereas he was in the midst of a cursing spree.

Angelou, who had no thought who the rapper was at the time, took him on a stroll and moved him to tears by telling him an empowering story about black people in America.

“You’re the best we have, we need you desperately,” she instructed him. Shakur’s mom, Afeni Shakur, later wrote a letter expressing her gratitude in the direction of Angelou for instructing her son a valuable lesson.

14. Angelou aged gracefully, by no means giving up on or stopping her mission.

Angelou grew to become more visibly challenged as she aged. She suffered from continual obstructive pulmonary illness and was wheel-chair sure.

But she by no means let that destroy her mission to show, encourage and share her love. “She knew that if she didn’t continue to go, she would stop,” Cicely Tyson stated within the movie. “She had this incredible love for people.”

15. She never went to college

She by no means went to college, however, her long profession and a number of achievements earned her over fifty honorary levels, from universities like Howard and Columbia.

16. She was the first black poet to present at a presidential inauguration.

President Bill Clinton invited Angelou to present at his 1993 inauguration the place she grew to become the first black particular person and the first feminine to ever communicate on the inaugural stage. Angelou delivered an authentic and riveting poem titled “On The Pulse of Morning.”

17. She was a feminine pimp and labored as a prostitute

Angelou was at all times forthcoming and open about sexuality and her personal history with sex work. She spoke about it in interviews (however publications usually omitted it later) and wrote about it in her second autobiography, Gather Together In My Name.

Although short-lived, she made a bundle. After working as a dancer on the Hi-Hat Club in San Diego, going by the working name Ms. Calypso, she turned to pimp and shortly stop after three months– however solely after she purchased her first automotive, a 1939 pale-green Chrysler convertible.

18. Different jobs

Besides being an author, Angelou held quite a lot of jobs in her youth, each creative and never, from nightclub dancer, to fry cook dinner, cable automotive conductor, and sex employee.

These jobs led her to journey and dwell all around the world. On occasion, she labored as a journalist for English-language newspapers in Egypt and Ghana within the 1960s and toured Europe as a part of an opera referred to as Porgy and Bess. Everywhere she went, she strove to be taught the native language, so before long, she was proficient in a number of them.

19. Her family was terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan rising up.

Growing up black in Stamps, Arkansas amid the racial terror that swept the nation was painful and troublesome, Angelou stated within the movie. She mirrored one fearful night in her childhood involving her Uncle Willie, who was crippled and had been accused by a white lady who claimed she tried to touch him.

In an effort to assist maintain him protected from the Ku Klux Klan, Angelou, who stated the KKK rode on their horses previous her grandmother’s retailer looking for her uncle, helped to cover him within the den of the shop and bury him in a field beneath dozens of onions and potatoes, Maya Angelou facts.

20. Secret of creativity

For years, she adopted the identical writing ritual, which she credited for her productiveness. The ritual concerned checking right into a lodge within the early morning avoiding all distractions, write by hand in authorized pads, try within the afternoon, and edit what she wrote that day the night.

21. Angelou was heartbroken after not landing an enormous position on Broadway.

In 1967, Angelou was thought of to be actress Pearl Bailey’s understudy within the Broadway play “Hello Dolly.” It was a dream alternative for Angelou and one that will enable her to higher financially assist her son, Maya Angelou facts for kids.

However, whereas the director and producer of the play each cherished her, Angelou’s son claims in a single heartbreaking part of the movie that it was Bailey who stated:

“Oh no — I ain’t gonna have this big old ugly girl be my understudy.’” Later in life, Bailey acquired a Lifetime Achievement Award and devoted the consideration to Angelou.

22. She was invited to New York by Langston Hughes the place she met different well-known black writers.

Shortly after her rejection from Broadway, Angelou started writing and befriended well-known black writers like Langston Hughes who persuaded her to maneuver to New York to hitch the Harlem Writers Guild, which is now the oldest organization of African American writers.

She quickly met author James Baldwin, and the 2 grew to be shut associates who had a lot of respect and love for one another.

23. She turned down the chance to write down an autobiography in a number of instances.

Loomis had referred to as Angelou a number of instances and tried to implore her to write down an autobiography, a request she declined for months. She stated she had been more fascinating in writing performs and poetry.

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“Finally he said, ‘Ms. Angelou, I won’t call you again because writing autobiography as literature is almost impossible,’” she recalled within the movie. “I said, ‘Well, in that case, I’ll try.’”

So, she began to write down and shortly printed her first novel “I know why the Caged Bird Sings” in 1969, a vital and profitable novel that marked a landmark moment in literature.

24. Angelou was raped at the age of seven. She didn’t communicate for 5 years after.

Angelou and her brother briefly moved to St. Louis to dwell with their mom who was relationship a person. Angelou stated he was “intoxicated” along with her mom and later raped Angelou when she was seven-years-old, Maya Angelou facts.

Police later discovered him killed and it had appeared he had been kicked to death. Angelou, who shared the name of her rapist to her brother, felt guilt and anguish from his dying, a lot so her “7-year-old logic told me that my voice had killed a man,” she says within the movie. “So I stopped speaking for five years.”

Angelou was ultimately despatched back to dwell along with her grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas the place she stated she spent her time studying each book within the black faculty library and all of the books she might get from the white faculty library, memorizing the works of well-known poets like Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare and more, fun facts about Maya Angelou.

25. Maya Angelou grew to become a world star after her autobiography was printed

In 1969, Maya Angelou’s first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was printed. The book grew to become a bestseller instantly and remained on The New York Times paperback bestseller record for 2 years.

It introduced Angelou’s international fame and significant acclaim. Caged Bird was the first of seven autobiographies that Angelou would write, with the final one being printed as late as 2013, Maya Angelou facts.

It is her most famous work and it set a precedent for the style of African-American autobiography as a complete. Angelou additionally printed three books of essays and a number of other books of poetry. Apart from being an author, she was additionally an actor, director, and producer of performs, motion pictures, and tv applications.

26. A traveler

These jobs led her to journey and dwell all around the world. On occasion, she labored as a journalist for English-language newspapers in Egypt and Ghana within the 1960s and toured Europe as a part of an opera referred to as Porgy and Bess. Everywhere she went, she strove to be taught the native language, so before long, she was proficient in a number of them.

27. Her name is derived from a nickname and her first husband’s name

In 1951, at the age of 23, Maya Angelou married a Greek electrician and former sailor, Tosh Angelos. Their marriage proved to be quick and led to 1954.

She had taken modern dance courses at this time and shortly started her profession as a professional dancer, throughout which she carried out in varied golf equipment, together with the Purple Onion, a preferred nightclub in San Francisco. Angelou was referred to as “Maya” by her brother since she was a child.

The name was derived from “My” or “Mya Sister”. Due to the suggestion of her managers on the Purple Onion, Maya modified her professional name from “Marguerite Johnson” to “Maya Angelou”, a mixture of the name given by her brother and a model of her ex-husband’s final name.

28. She acquired a letter from Tupac’s mom

Angelou agreed to be part of John Singleton’s iconic 1993 movie “Poetic Justice” which includes rapper Tupac Shakur and singer Janet Jackson. The rapper was in the midst of a raging spree, and although she had no thought who he was, Angelou promptly pulled him apart and had a heart-to-heart with the artist.

It’s been stated that she moved him to tears along with her empowering story about black people in America, and of his significance to the tradition.

Tupac’s mom, Afeni Shakur, later wrote a letter to Angelou expressing her deepest gratitude in the direction of Angelou for giving a recommendation to her son and instructing him such an invaluable lesson.

29. She portrayed a white queen in a play alongside Cicely Tyson and Louis Gossett Jr.

In 1960, Angelou, alongside different common black actors Cicely Tyson, Louis Gossett Jr., and James Earl Jones, starred in a play titled “The Blacks,” which featured an all-black solid with half of the solid portraying white characters, Maya Angelou facts.

The play was polarizing and supplied varied statements on the state of the race. Angelou portrayed a white queen, a task that was “quite fascinating,” as Tyson describes within the movie.”[The play] was a chunk that shook everybody.”

30. She had a detailed relationship along with her brother Bailey Johnson Jr.

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928, within the city of St. Louis in Missouri, U.S. She was the second baby of Bailey Johnson, a navy dietitian who had served in World War I, and his spouse Vivian Baxter Johnson, a nurse, and card supplier.

Marguerite’s parents divorced when she was Three and, alongside her elder brother Bailey Jr., she was despatched to Stamps, Arkansas to dwell along with her paternal grandmother Annie Henderson. Henderson was financially in a position and owner of the one basic retailer within the black community of the city.

It was her grandmother and most prominently her brother Bailey who have been probably the most influential figures in her adolescence and with whom she shared the closest bond, interesting facts about Maya Angelou.

31. She was a writer of Hallmark greeting playing cards

Despite the disapproval of her Random House editor, Angelou wrote phrases for a line of playing cards, bookends, and pillows for Hallmark. She stated, “If I’m America’s poet or one of them, then I want to be in people’s hands … people who would never buy a book.”

32. She wrote two cookbooks

If you couldn’t inform by now, Angelou at all times stored busy. She authored the cookbooks Great Food, All Day Long, and Hallelujah! The Welcome Table. She believed that people wouldn’t overheat in the event that they ate what they needed after they felt prefer it … reminiscent of “fried rice for breakfast,” she stated.

33. She lost her voice pondering it was accountable for killing her rapist

Marguerite skilled the prevalent racial discrimination in Stamps, which she was to explain later in her works. She lived there till she was 14, aside from one go-to St. Louis when she was 8.

The go-to proved to be horrific as Marguerite was raped by her mom’s boyfriend, Freeman. She instructed her brother of the incident, who in flip knowledgeable different members of the family.

Freeman was jailed for under in the future however quickly after his launch, he was discovered kicked to death in lots behind a slaughterhouse, likely the doing of Marguerite’s uncles.

Thinking that her voice was so highly effective that it might kill people, Marguerite felt responsible and stopped speaking, besides to her beloved brother. She remained reclusive and mute for almost 5 years until a trainer and pal of her family, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, helped her regain her voice by way of books and communication.

34. One of the earliest reminiscences she had was being despatched to dwell along with her grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas at the age of three.

Maya’s father and mom despatched her and her brother Bailey to dwell with their grandmother Annie Henderson in Stamps, Arkansas when Angelou was the tender age of three.

In the movie, Angelou recounts how they boarded the practice to their grandmother’s home with no grownup supervision and the resentment she felt in the direction of her parents for sending them away.

35. Her grandmother ran the one black-owned retailer within the city and taught her to learn.

Annie Henderson, who Angelou is known as “Momma,” was the kid of a former slave and the one black particular person in Stamps, Arkansas to personal a basic retailer on the time Angelou was despatched to dwell along with her.

Henderson taught Angelou tips on how to learn and would usually convey back books from the native white colleges on the town for Angelou and her brother to bask in.

36. Her brother Bailey additional inspired her to learn and take up everything she might.

In the movie, Angelou stated that rising up, her brother Bailey performed an enormous position in encouraging her to learn and be taught. “Just learn everything, put it in your brain, Maya Angelou facts.

You’re smarter than everybody around here, except me of course,” she recalled him telling her with laughter. “And he was right, he was smart. But he was also protective of me.”

37. Maya Angelou grew to become a mom in her teenagers

When she was 14, Marguerite and her brother moved to Oakland, California to dwell with their mom once more. At the time of World War II, she received a scholarship to check dance and performing at the California Labor School in San Francisco.

During this time she stated she grew to become the first black feminine cable automotive conductor in San Francisco. Marguerite had a short-lived high faculty relationship which led to her being pregnant.

Three weeks after finishing faculty, at the age of 17, Marguerite gave delivery to a son who she named Clyde. He would later change his name to Guy. Guy Johnson was the one baby that Maya Angelou would have, Maya Angelou biography for kids.

38. Maya Angelou’s writing ritual

Beginning along with her first autobiography Caged Bird, Maya Angelou adopted the identical writing ritual for years. She used to verify right into a lodge room after instructing the workers to take away all photos from the partitions, Maya Angelou facts.

Then Angelou used to write down on authorized pads whereas mendacity on the bed with solely a bottle of sherry, a deck of playing cards to play solitaire, Roget’s Thesaurus, and the Bible. She would write around ten to 12 pages by the afternoon and edited them down to 3 to 4 within the night.

Angelou stated she went by way of this process to “enchant” herself to assist her entry her reminiscences. She said, “It may take an hour to get into it, but once I’m in it—ha! It’s so delicious!”

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