top of page

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson, is a late American author and activist known for her poetically beautiful way with words. By the time of her passing in 2014, she had already won dozens of awards and over 50 honorary degrees.

Maya Angelou was born to Bailey Johnson, a doorman and navy dietitian & Vivian (Baxter) Johnson, a nurse and card dealer in 1928. At the innocent age of 8 (after a series of moves between her mother and grandmother), Maya experienced rape and abuse at the hands of her mother's then boyfriend; speaking of the incident only to her brother. Well after this information surfaces, the man spent 1 day in jail resulting in his murder a few days later. Believing that her voice had killed this man, Maya Angelou went mute for 5 years until she found her voice again through poetry and spoken word. Sparking a monumental path of icon-ism and inspiration for women of all colors and ages.

Angelou became best known for her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which detailed “the racism and abuse she endured during her harrowing childhood,” The Post’s Emma Brown wrote shortly after Angelou’s 2014 death. During her life, Angelou won three Grammy Awards for spoken-word recordings of her poetry and prose, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama in 2010.

Record Breaking

  • Maya Angelou became the first Black woman to appear on the US quarter

  • As of January 11, 2022

  • The coin is part of the American Women Quarters Program

  • Dozens of awards

  • Over 30 honorary degrees from universities all over the country

1 view0 comments