Maya Angelou Facts

Maya Angelou Facts
Maya Angelou, one of America's most cherished civil rights activists and writers, was born on April 4th, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her birth name was Marguerite Annie Johnson. Her father was Bailey Johnson, a navy dietician and a doorman, and her mother was Vivian Baxter Johnson, a nurse and a card dealer. Maya had one sibling, an older brother named Bailey Jr. She was three when her parents split up and both Maya and Bailey Jr. were sent to live with their paternal grandmother. Four years later Maya's father took the children back to their mother. At the age of eight, following personal tragedy, Maya and her brother were sent back to their grandmother's house. At 14 Maya and her returned to their mother once again, in California.
Interesting Maya Angelou Facts:
The nickname Maya was given to her by her older brother Bailey Jr. Maya means 'my sister'.
Maya was sexually abused by a man when she was eight, and when the man was murdered upon his release (a one day sentence), Maya went mute for five years because she believed it was her fault that he was killed.
During the five years of silence Maya developed her love of reading and literature.
In California Maya attended the California Labor School and became the first black female in San Francisco to be a streetcar conductor.
Maya gave birth to her only child, Clyde Johnson, when she was 17.
In 1951 Maya married an aspiring musician Tosh Angelos, and soon became a dancer.
In 1954 the marriage ended, but Maya was already a professional calypso dancer and changed her name to Maya Angelou. She toured Europe in '54 and '55.
Maya Angelou recorded her first album, Miss Calypso in 1957. A 1957 film called Calypso Heat Wave was inspired by her off-Broadway review.
In 1959 Maya moved to New York and focused on her writing career.
Maya lived in different countries including Egypt and Ghana, to work as an editor, a teacher, and a writer.
Maya worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and was active in the Civil Rights Movement.
Maya Angelou never attended college but received more than 50 honorary degrees in her lifetime.
Maya Angelou was 20th Century Fox's first black female producer and director.
Maya learned several languages while she traveled and worked in different countries including Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, and Fanti.
Maya Angelou's screenplay Georgia, Georgia, was the first one written by a black woman to actually be produced.
Maya Angelou published a total of seven autobiographies during her lifetime. She also published books of essays, poetry, and two cookbooks.
Maya thought of Oprah Winfrey as her daughter.
In 2011 Maya Angelou was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.
Maya Angelou passed away on May 28th, 2014. Tributes poured in from around the world, and her memorial was attended by Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey.
Maya Angelou won many awards in lifetime including three Grammys, the National Medal of Arts, the Lincoln Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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