Maya Angelou, Make A Life

Posted April 22, 2012 by Robb Zerr
If there's one thing Maya Angelou is known for, it's her ability to make a life. Born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, Angelou is a Rubik's Cube of a Renaissance woman, establishing herself as an American poet, playwright, editor, writer and essayist as well as a singer, dancer, actress and Hollywood's first female black director.

Angelou witnessed the harsh realities of racial discrimination first hand as a child in Stamps, Arkansas, where she also forged her unshakable faith and traditional values. As a young woman, she toured Europe in the production of Porgy and Bess and recorded her first album, Calypso Lady, in 1957.  She continued to support her young son, often working as a waitress or cook, though her passion for the creative arts could not be ignored. She eventually joined the Harlem Writers Guild.

Her entry into the political and activist realm came with a meeting with Malcom X in 1964. She helped him build his new Organization of African American Unity  and then joined up with Dr. Martin Luther King as Northern Coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Ironically, he was assassinated on her birthday in 1968.

Angelou's quotes are many, including one of our favorites, "I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life.'" Through her own life, she was served as a inspiration to us all


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