Maya Angelou is an American author who wrote poetry, novels, and produced movies. Throughout the hardships in her life she never gave up and later became famous. Maya was born April 4 th, 1928 in St. Louis Missouri.
She was originally named Marguerite but went by the name Maya after her brother had nicknamed her my-a-sister. At age three Maya and her brother Baily were sent to live with their grandmother in Arkansas after the divorce of their parents. Due to a visit to their mother at age eight, Maya became a mute for five years after being raped by her mothers boyfriend. After several years of counseling Maya slowly became better, graduated eighth grade and soon after moved back with her mother. While living with her mother she became a street-car conductor and still attended high school attending drama and dance lessons. At the age of sixteen, Maya became pregnant, gave birth to a son, and name him Clyde.
Her mother and stepfather offered to him while she worked, but the memories of how she was raised kept Maya from taking the offer (C effie 27).
She soon received a job at a Creole Restaurant and moved out on her own feeling that she should take care of herself, but when this job didn’t provide enough she became a prostitute. Courage is the most important virtue, because without courage you can’t have the other virtues (Saar i 35).” At the age twenty-two Maya met and married a white sailor in hopes of bringing order into her life. After two and a half years of marriage she grew homesick of living a single and free life, so she divorced him. Soon after the divorce, Maya became a dancer and this job became a turning point in her life leading her to other performances at nightclubs. She later moved to Egypt with her boyfriend and became an editor to provide more things needed.
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He began to resent her for taking this and she left him and traveled to Ghana. Here she became a teacher to music and dance classes. After mistreatment from the people in Ghana she returned to the U. S. and became an actor, composed poetry and songs, and also produced a TV series.
In 1977, Maya earned an Emmy Nomination for her many performances. Throughout her life, Maya was influenced by many people to become a writer. Bertha Flowers was Mayas counselor as a child and helped her to recover by providing poetry to read and by encouraging her to write poems of her own. Mayas grandmother was also supportive and convinced Maya to become whatever she wanted in life.
Another great encourager was her friend James Baldwin by encouraging her to write an autobiography which later led her to writing four other volumes, many other books, and also poetry. In 1993, Maya was invited to write and read a poem for President Clintons inauguration called On the Pulse of morning. She was the first poet who appeared at an inauguration since 1960. Maya wrote many books along with a lot of poetry. Her books and poetry including “Wouldn’t take nothin for my journey now”, “I know why caged birds sing”, And still I rise”, “I shall not be moved”, and “On the pulse of morning” are reflections of Mayas life, the hardships in her life, and the hardships in this world. “All my work, my life, everything is about survival, all my work is meant to say, ‘You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated’ (Lives 26).