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Maya Angelou’s Trials and Triumphs

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Maya Angelou’s Trials and Triumphs

Maya Angelou is best known for her poetry, but is also an accomplished author, actress, civil rights activist, and producer. She is a professor of American studies at Wake Forest University. (Umanoff) She has also published ten best sellers. She is a product of a broken home and was an insecure teenager that was unsure about herself and her surroundings.

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson, on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. After her parents divorce in 1931, she and her brother Bailey moved to Chicago with their mother. In 1936, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. After some hesitation, Marguerite confided in her brother and then to her mother that she had been raped. Shortly after Marguerite had to testify, but her attacker was released. Days after his release he was murdered. Convinced that the death was her fault Marguerite went through four year period where she would not speak to anyone except her brother Bailey. She and Bailey were sent to Arkansas to live with their grandmother (Maya). At the age of twelve, Marguerite started speaking again after she started the study of writing, literature, and music, she became known for her intelligence.

In 1940, Marguerite and Bailey moved to San Francisco with their mother. In 1944, Marguerite became pregnant and dropped out of school taking a job as the first African American cable car instructor in San Francisco. A year later, her son Guy is born and Marguerite graduates for mission High school. In her late teens and early twenties, Maya had many of different occupations; she was a tap dancer, Creole cook, and a prostitute. In 1952, Marguerite married Tosh Angleous. Tosh was stability for Marguerite and her son, five years later they would divorce. Around this time she performed at the Purple Onion nightclub in San Francisco, where she adopted the name of Maya Angelou. Maya was a nickname from her brother Bailey and Angelou was a corruption of her married name. (Maya)

In 1960, at the request of Martin Luther King Jr. Maya became the Northeaster Regional Coordinator for Southern Leadership Conference. (Maya) Also in this year Maya married a South African named Vusumi Make. She, Vusumi, and Guy moved to Africa where she becomes fluent in West African Fanti. In 1970, Maya received widespread recognition for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which

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