Dr. Maya Angelou, a well-known civil right activist, an actress and an award- winning poet and writer, died Wednesday morning inside her Winston Salem, N.C., home.
The 86-year-old who was born Marguerite Annie Johnson, suffered from heart problems according to her literary agent, Helen Brann, told the New York Times. Less than a week ago, Angelou said she would not attend the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, indicating it was because of “health reasons.”
Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri. However, she was sent off along with her brother to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, after the divorced of their parents. Angelou did not have an easy upbringing, for she ...view middle of the document...
She toured in Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess for two years, 1954 and 1955; she danced with Alvin Ailey on television, studied modern dance with Martha Graham, and even recorded her first record album, Calypso Lady in 1957.
In New York, Angelou met South African Civil rights activist Vusumzi Make, she fell in love with him. The couple moved with Angelou’s son, to Cairo, Egypt. There, Angelou became an editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer. Unfortunately, Angelou and her son Guy, did not stay there for too long. They later moved to Ghana. In Ghana, Angelou was an instructor and assistant administrator at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama. She also worked as a feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times and the Ghanaian Broadcasting company. Angelou had even met with African American activist, Malcolm X, while he was visiting Ghana. Both instantaneously shared an incredible bond with one another.
Because Angelou traveled tremendously and lived overseas, she became multilingual. She mastered Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, and a West African language, Fanti.
Coming back to the U.S in 1964, Angelou thought that she would be helping Malcolm X with his new Organization of African American Unity. But, that idea came into an abrupt halt. Malcolm X was assassinated and so did his plans. Angelou, still remained active during the Civil Rights Movement, and even worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He had entreated that Angelou should serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Just like Malcolm, Dr. King, was also assassinated. King’s assassination ironically fell on Angelou’s birthday in 1968, which left her heart broken. However, Angelou was able to find comfort in her writings. She wrote her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings which was published in 1970. The...