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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. Dr. Angelou recently received the prestigious 2011 Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

Raised in St. Louis, Missouri and Stamps, Arkansas, Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou - © Dwight Carter
faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture. As a young woman, she toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. And during her years abroad, she read and studied voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, "Calypso Lady."

Later 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." With the guidance of her friend, novelist James Baldwin, suggested and encouraged Dr. Angelou to write her autobiography, which became known as "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 resulting in Dr. Angelou becoming the first African-American woman to have the longest-running book, appear on the New York Times Paperback, Nonfiction Best Seller List. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 best-selling titles.

A 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) and Tyler Perry's "Madea's Family Reunion" (2006). 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 by President Clinton, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received 3 Grammy Awards. Dr. Angelou has received over 50 honorary degrees and is the first lifetime Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. Dr. Angelou is an active member of several community, civil and professional organizations, including Harlem Writer's Guild, Horatio Alger Association, Clinton Global Initiative, SeeForever Foundation and has several public and charter schools, libraries and apartments named in her honor.


How tall is Maya Angelou? How old is Maya Angelou? Find out here.

Age: 88 years old
Birthday: April 4, 1928
Height: 6' 0"
Full Name / Real Name: Marguerite Annie Johnson
Birthplace: St. Louis, MO
Hometown: St. Louis, MO and Stamps, AR
Husband: Paul Du Feu (1/18/1974 - 1981, divorced)
Vusumzi Make (1960 - 1963, divorced)
Tosh Angelos (1950 - 1952, divorced)

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