Maya Angelou

A global icon, acclaimed American poet, activist, and autobiographer Maya Angelou is widely regarded as one of the most important writers of the twentieth-century. Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis Missouri in 1928, she had an extraordinary and varied career (TIME Magazine gave a precis of just some of her more unusual work as including the roles of: ‘cook, waitress, sex-worker, dancer, actor, playwright, editor at an English-language newspaper in Egypt, Calypso singer, and cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess’. In her lifetime she published more than 30 books, became Hollywood’s first female black director and was widely acclaimed for her work as a civil rights activist with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States, by President Barack Obama.

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