Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou, a poet and activist, was born in St Louis, Missouri in 1928. Through her life, she demonstrated the following qualities:

  • COMPASSION: Maya’s works of fiction and poetry lift up the stories of African Americans, women and LGBTQIA+ people, humanizing them and viewing them with compassion.
  • COLLABORATION: In 1959, the acclaimed Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked Maya to be help coordinate the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group of organizers that carried out the famous nonviolent protests which led to the American Civil Rights Movement.
  • RESPECT: During Maya’s travels, she made many new friends. Some of them are now quite famous, such as Malcolm X and James Baldwin. However, at the time Maya did not know they would become the widely-known leaders we think of today. By treating all people with respect, Maya established important relationships that helped her achieve literary success and share her message of human rights.
  • CELEBRATION: Maya’s memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is as much of a celebration of her early life as it is an acknowledgement of the pain and trauma she endured. By celebrating her truth, Maya’s book became the first non-fiction bestseller written by an African-American woman.
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