Maya Angelou, a name synonymous with literary excellence, civil rights activism, and inspirational poetry, left an indelible mark on the world with her words and deeds. Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., Maya Angelou broke barriers and defied conventions to become one of the most celebrated and influential voices of the 20th century. Her life journey, replete with struggles and triumphs, served as the muse for much of her work, influencing countless individuals and shaping cultural narratives.

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Personal Information

Full Name Maya Angelou
Nick Name / Stage Name Dr. Maya Angelou
Born April 4, 1928, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Died May 28, 2014, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Age 86
Gender Female
Zodiac Sign Aries
Hometown St. Louis, Missouri
Nationality American
Years Active 1944 – 2014
Marital Status Married
Husband/Wife Vusumzi Make (Tosh Angelos), Paul du Feu
Children Guy Johnson
Political Affiliation Independent
Alma Mater California Labor School, George Washington High School, California State University, American University
Profession Writer, Poet, Activist
Net Worth (approx.) $10 million
Debut 1957 – “The Poetry of Maya Angelou”
School George Washington High School
College California State University, American University
Education Qualification / Degree Honorary Doctorates
Hobbies/Habits/Interests Dancing, Singing, Cooking
Favorite Clothing Brands Unknown
Favorite Gadgets Unknown
Food Habit Healthy diet with a preference for Southern cuisine
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom, National Book Award
Notable Works “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “Still I Rise,” “Phenomenal Woman”
Website Maya Angelou Official Website

Early Career

Maya Angelou’s early career was shaped by a remarkable journey of self-discovery and resilience. After a challenging childhood marked by trauma and displacement, she embarked on her professional journey in the mid-1940s. Her first significant job was as a calypso singer and dancer in San Francisco, where she adopted the name “Maya Angelou” derived from her marriage to Tosh Angelos.


Maya Angelou’s educational journey was unconventional but undeniably significant. Despite facing difficulties in her formal education due to the racial attitudes of the time, she pursued learning with determination. She attended the California Labor School, where she developed her passion for literature and poetry. Her autodidactic nature led her to a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.


Maya Angelou’s career as a writer, poet, and civil rights activist spanned nearly six decades and yielded numerous milestones and achievements. Her work was not confined to one particular genre, as she excelled in poetry, memoir, essay, and film.

Year Position Achievement
1957 Author Publication of first poetry book
1961 African Liberation Activist Organized aid for decolonization movements
1969 Memoirist Released “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
1972 Poet Recited poem at Presidential Inauguration
1981 Educator Appointed Professor of American Studies
1993 Presidential Consultant First poet to speak at a U.S. presidential inauguration

Contributions and Impact

Maya Angelou’s contributions encompassed literature, civil rights advocacy, education, and mentorship. Her impact on society can be felt through both her work and her personal interactions.

  • Literature
  • Maya Angelou’s literature, particularly her debut memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” is credited with expanding the possibilities of the genre. She brought a unique voice to African American literature, addressing themes of identity, racism, and resilience.

  • Civil Rights Advocacy

  • An unwavering voice for justice, Maya Angelou worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X during the civil rights movement. Her words inspired many and contributed to the eventual triumph of the movement.

  • Education and Mentorship

  • As an educator, Maya Angelou influenced countless students with her wisdom and compassion. She emphasized the power of education to bring about social change. As a mentor, she counseled and encouraged young artists, leaving a lasting legacy on the creative community.

Awards and Honors

Maya Angelou received numerous awards and honors in recognition of her literary achievements and civil rights activism. Notably, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Year Award/Honor Description
1971 National Book Award For “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
1983 Grammy Award Best Spoken Word Album
2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom Highest civilian honor in the United States

Personal Life

In her personal life, Maya Angelou was known for her warmth, wit, and unwavering spirit. She maintained lifelong friendships with many prominent figures, including James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Oprah Winfrey. Her marriages and family relationships shaped her outlook on love and resilience.

Personal Traits

Trait Description
Personality Resilient, Compassionate, Wise
Interests Literature, Music, Dance, Cooking
Hobbies Gardening, Poetry Recitation, Playing Musical Instruments
Passions Civil Rights, Education, Cultural Expression
Values Integrity, Compassion, Perseverance
Quirks Carried a Smoky Voice, Often Wore Sunglasses in Public
Fun Facts Spoke French, Spanish, Italian, and West African languages

Height, Weight, Body Measurements

Height 6 feet
Weight 150 lbs
Body Measurements Not Known
Eye Color Brown
Hair Color Black
Chest Size Not Known
Waist Size Not Known
Biceps Size Not Known
Height in Centimeters 183 cm
Height in Meters 1.83 m
Height in Feet Inches 6’0″

Scientific or Professional Career

Fields of Expertise Literature, Poetry, Civil Rights Activism, Education
Institutions N/A
Contributions Significant influence on African American literature and culture.


Maya Angelou’s legacy is multifaceted and far-reaching. She remains a source of inspiration for writers, activists, and anyone striving to overcome adversity. Her works continue to resonate with readers around the world and have been translated into numerous languages.


In conclusion, Maya Angelou’s life was a testament to the power of the human spirit and the written word. Her ability to articulate the pain and beauty of the human experience is unparalleled. As a civil rights activist, she fearlessly advocated for equality and justice. As an artist, she pushed the boundaries of expression and left us with countless timeless works.

Through her poetry, prose, and public speaking, Maya Angelou touched the lives of many and left behind a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come. Her ability to find hope and strength in the darkest of times serves as a guiding light for anyone on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

In conclusion, Maya Angelou’s life story is one of resilience, reinvention, and remarkable achievement. Her ability to use language as a tool for social change and self-expression left an indelible mark on the world. Maya Angelou’s influence reaches far beyond the literary realm, shaping the discourse on civil rights and inspiring countless individuals to find their voice.

As we reflect on Maya Angelou’s vast contributions, both artistic and activist, we are reminded that no obstacle is insurmountable and that each of us has the power to effect positive change in the world. Maya Angelou’s words continue to echo in the hearts of those who seek courage and inspiration. In her own words, “Still I Rise,” she remains a towering figure in the pantheon of literary and cultural icons.