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.
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.
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