RIP: Life & Times of The Great Maya Angelou


The life and times of the great literary prophet Dr. Maya Angelou has sadly come to an end. At the age of 86, the poet, essayist, novelist and actress died Wednesday morning in her Winston-Salem, North Carolina home. While this news generates great sadness and universal loss, Dr. Angelou’s life and achievements will always be celebrated. And without any debate, she will be remembered not only for her poetic work but also for her vision of equality, tolerance and peace. Historically, Dr. Maya Angelou is the literary eyes and ears of the Civil Rights Movement and for that we salute her.


A Maya Angelou Event Timeline

  • 1928- On April 4, Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson in Saint Louis Missouri.
  • 1941- She attended George Washington High School in San Francisco and studied dance and drama on scholarship at the California Labor School.
  • 1952- Marguerite Ann Johnson started her career as a nightclub singer and changed her name to “Maya Angelou”.
  • 1954/5- Toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess.
  • 1957- Completed and released her first album Calypso Lady.
  • 1958- Moved to New York City and joined the Harlem Writers Guild.
  • 1958- Acted in the Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks and wrote/performed Cabaret for Freedom.
  • 1959- Worked with Civil Rights Activists.
  • 1960- Moved to Cairo, Egypt and worked as editor of the English language weekly newsmagazine The Arab Observer.
  • 1961- Moved to Ghana and taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama.
  • 1961- She also worked as a feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times. While staying there, she met with Malcolm X.
  • 1964- Returned to America to help Malcolm X build his Organization of African American Unity.
  • 1965- X was assassinated and soon after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked her to served as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
  • 1970- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings was published.
  • 1972- Wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the film Georgia, Georgia which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
  • 1977- Appeared in television adaptation of Alex Haley’s Roots.
  • 1981- Wake Forest University appointed her as Reynolds Professor of American Studies lifetime chair.
  • 1993- President Clinton requested she compose a poem to read at his inauguration.
  • 1993- Appeared in John Singleton’s Poetic Justice.
  • 1996- Directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta.
  • 2000- Awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts.
  • 2002- Won Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for A Song Flung Up To Heaven.
  • 2008- Awarded the Lincoln medal.
  • 2011- President Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • 2013- Her 8th autobiographical book “Mom & Me & Mom” was published.
  • 2013- Interviewed by Oprah.
  • 2014- Dr. Maya Angelou passed away in her North Carolina home on May 28.


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