Born in the 1920’s in St Louis, Missouri, she experienced the firsthand brutality of racial discrimination. She grew from these adverse experiences and they actually drove her to embrace her African American heritage further. Her love for the arts won a scholarship to study dance at San Francisco’s Labor School but dropped out at 14 and became the first African American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school but gave birth to her first son a few weeks post graduation. Being a single mother she had to provide for her family so she took on a job as a waitress and as a cook. Her passions, however, always lay with the arts so she continued to perform her poetry and to dance.
In the 50’s she toured Europe with an opera production company, studied modern dance with Martha Graham and was on TV with Alvin Ailey. By 1957 she had recorded her first album Calypso Lady, after which she moved to New York and joined the Harlem Writers Guild.
In the 60’s she moved to Cairo, Egypt where she was the editor of the Arab Observer. Then she moved to Ghana and taught music & drama at the university. During her years abroad she learnt how to speak French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic & the West African language Fanti. While in Ghana, she met Malcom X and returned with him to America to create an organization of African American Unity but soon after they returned to America, Malcom X was assassinated and the organization dissolved.
After Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968 she was devastated, and began working on the novel I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing, which was published in 1970. It became an international best seller.
Dr. Maya Angelou's success continued until her death on 28th May 2014.
“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated”
Shaleena & Roshni
What we’re listening to: ‘Champion Sound' Crystal Fighters