Maya Angelou – WOMAN of ACTION™

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A Celebration of Women™

is elated and inspired to Celebrate the Life of one of our world’s most experienced in life, reborn and enlightened women through this celebratory Tribute, a woman that today devotes her life to the betterment of others.

 

 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 

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Maya Angelou

“I Believe each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of Glory.”

 
 
 
 
 
 

Maya Angelou (pron.: /ˈmaɪ.ə ˈændʒəloʊ/, born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928) is an American author and poet.

ang0-003aAngelou’s list of occupations includes pimp, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, author, journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization, and actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs.

Since 1982, she has taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

Since the 1990s she has made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.

With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou was one of the first African American women who was able to publicly discuss her personal life. She is respected as a spokesperson of Black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of Black culture. Although attempts have been made to ban her books from some US libraries, her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide.

maya ang0-002aAngelou’s major works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics have characterized them as autobiographies. She has made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel. Angelou is best known for her autobiographies, but she is also an established poet, although her poems have received mixed reviews.

Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. In Stamps, Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture.

As a teenager, Dr. Angelou’s love for the arts won her a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. At 14, she dropped out to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving birth to her son, Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook, however her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry would soon take center stage.

In 1954 and 1955, Dr. Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.
 
 

 
 
In 1960, Dr. Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer. The next year, she moved to Ghana where she taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.

During her years abroad, Dr. Angelou read and studied voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti. While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African American Unity.

Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after X’s assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Dr. Angelou to serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King’s assassination, falling on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated.

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill/ of things unknown but longed for still/ and his tune is heard on the distant hill/ for the caged birds sings of freedom.”

– Maya Angelou

booksWith the guidance of her friend, the novelist James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Published in 1970, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to international acclaim and enormous popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles. Maya Angelou’s six volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer.

The first and most highly acclaimed, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ (1969), tells of her first seventeen years.

Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty.

As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also ‘hope, joy, achievement and celebration’.

In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother’s lover. It brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award.

‘I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it’s like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again’ Maya Angelou

maya michael_georgiaA trailblazer in film and television, Dr. Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

She continues to appear on television and in films including the landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley’s Roots (1977) and John Singleton’s Poetic Justice (1993).

In 1996, she directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta.

In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante.

Dr. Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received 3 Grammy Awards.

 
THE POET

President Clinton requested that she compose a poem to read at his inauguration in 1993. Dr. Angelou’s reading of her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” was broadcast live around the world.

 

 

Dr. Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

Dr. Angelou’s words and actions continue to stir our souls, energize our bodies, liberate our minds, and heal our hearts.

American author and poet who has been called “America’s most visible black female autobiographer” by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences.
 

 
She has been awarded over 30 honorary degrees and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her 1971 volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie’.

harlem-writers-guild-logo-copyAngelou was a member of the Harlem Writers Guild in the late 1950s, was active in the Civil Rights movement, and served as Northern Coordinator of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

maya poetSince 1991, she has taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. Since the 1990s she has made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. In 1995, she was recognized for having the longest-running record (two years) on The New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller List.

With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou was heralded as a new kind of memoirist, one of the first African American women who was able to publicly discuss her personal life. She is highly respected as a spokesperson for Black people and women. Angelou’s work is often characterized as autobiographical fiction. She has, however, made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books, centered on themes such as identity, family, and racism, are often used as set texts in schools and universities internationally. Some of her more controversial work has been challenged or banned in US schools and libraries.

In a nutshell, She has published six autobiographies, five books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She has received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

 

 
Happy birthday, Maya Angelou!

As the renowned poet and author turns 85 today — on April 4, 2013 — fans from around the world celebrate Dr. Angelou and the vast influence her words have had on their lives. It’s true that Dr. Angelou has shared many great life lessons over the years, but in 1997 on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she imparted two pieces of wisdom that have stayed in the minds of viewers ever since.
 
Maya Angelou’s Birthday: A Look Back At Some Of Her Best ‘Oprah Show’ Lessons (VIDEO)

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Our fave quote of Maya: “The sadness of the women’s movement is that they don’t allow the necessity of love. See, I don’t personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.” – Maya Angelou

 

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Complete agreement with Dr. Maya Anglou: … in my humble opinion, once ‘Equality of Women Among Women‘ is fully achieved through ‘Caring, Compassion and Courage’ will Dr. Maya’s stated ‘missing LOVE’ conceive, grow and allow us, as Women, find ourselves grounded onto a New Version of the ‘Women’s Movement’; one with a unified Vision motivated by LOVE. – Catherine Anne Clark

 
 
 
 

A Celebration of Women™

 

welcomes this powerhouse of experience, spirit and wisdom into our Alumni ( through this Birthday Tribute) with open arms and elated, uplifted hearts.

 
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Brava Dr. Maya!

 

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