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Every since I read her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in the 9th grade, I have felt connected to Maya Angelou and her works. I live by her famous words: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." I also have the line "Bringing the gifts my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave" from her well-known poem "Still I Rise" as part of my email signature. So, it seems appropriate that I celebrate and honor her this Black History Month.
Black history fact #17
Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson, (1928-2014) was a poet, writer, producer, director, performer, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and a list of plays, movies, and television shows. She is known for her critically acclaimed autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)," which she was encouraged to write by fellow black writer James Baldwin. The book is critically-accalime and taught widely in schools. Angelou also was very good friends with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and worked with him as the northern coordinator for his Souther Christian Leadership Council (SCLC). Wanting to stretch her creative talents, Angelou made her directorial debut in 1998 with the film Down in the Delta, starring Alfre Woodard. She has received several honors; Angelou was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 2000 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor in the US) by President Obama in 2010.
Thank you Maya Angelou for being unapologetically you!