Angelou called her friendship with Malcolm X "a brother/sister relationship". At the age of eight, while living with her mother, Angelou was sexually abused and raped by her mother's boyfriend, a man named Freeman. Maya, too, was and still is a light among the Walkie-Talkie. [164] Angelou acknowledged that she followed the slave narrative tradition of "speaking in the first-person singular talking about the first-person plural, always saying I meaning 'we'". Answer to: Is Maya Angelou still alive? ', "You'll be surprised at how much better you will feel," she said. Angelou's legacy is twofold. Angelou wrote about Vivian Baxter's life and their relationship in. "It was as if someone in the outer sphere said, 'What can we do to really show how important Martin Luther King was?'". [46] She was a feature editor for The African Review,[47] a freelance writer for the Ghanaian Times, wrote and broadcast for Radio Ghana, and worked and performed for Ghana's National Theatre. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. [171], McWhorter recognizes that much of the reason for Angelou's style was the "apologetic" nature of her writing. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. Maya Angelou: While in Accra, Ghana, Angelou met with Malcolm X, and in 1965, she returned to the U.S. to help him organize the Organization of African-American Unity. This brought her international recognition and acclaim. [142][143], Angelou was honored by universities, literary organizations, government agencies, and special interest groups. Maya Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday, said her literary agent, Helen Brann. Linguist John McWhorteragreed, seeing Angelou's works, which he called "tracts", as "apologetic writing". Flowers introduced her to authors such as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and James Weldon Johnson, authors who would affect her life and career, as well as black female artists like Frances Harper, Anne Spencer, and Jessie Fauset. McWhorter sees Angelou as she depicts herself in her autobiographies "as a kind of stand-in figure for the black American in Troubled Times". When she was 16, Angelou became San Francisco's first female streetcar driver. She produced plays and was named visiting professor at several colleges and universities. [note 10] Over the next ten years, as Gillespie has stated, "She [Angelou] had accomplished more than many artists hope to achieve in a lifetime. A Farewell Spectacular" in 2011. [152], Angelou is best known for her seven autobiographies, but she was also a prolific and successful poet. He pla… English literature scholar Valerie Sayers has asserted that "Angelou's poetry and prose are similar". She leaves behind a body of important artistic work that influenced several generations. She delivered a poem at a presidential inauguration. In 1958, Angelou become a part of the Harlem Writers Guild in New York and played a queen in "The Blacks," an off-Broadway production by French dramatist Jean Genet. I loved her and I know she loved me. [134] McWhorter views Angelou's works as dated, but recognizes that "she has helped to pave the way for contemporary black writers who are able to enjoy the luxury of being merely individuals, no longer representatives of the race, only themselves". [119][120][121][122] On June 15, a memorial was held at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, where Angelou was a member for many years. According to the National Coalition Against Censorship, parents and schools have objected to Caged Bird's depictions of lesbianism, premarital cohabitation, pornography, and violence. She acted in and wrote plays, and returned to New York in 1967. Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 and died on May 28, 2014. We need to try to be great citizens. The memorial was shown live on local stations in the Winston-Salem/Triad area and streamed live on the university web site with speeches from her son, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton. [144][145] She served on two presidential committees,[128][146] and was awarded the Spingarn Medal in 1994,[147] the National Medal of Arts in 2000,[148] and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. [89] In 2011, Angelou served as a consultant for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. She spoke out in opposition to a paraphrase of a quotation by King that appeared on the memorial, saying, "The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit",[90] and demanded that it be changed. Lee was sent to the Clinton County poorhouse in Missouri with her daughter, Marguerite Baxter, who became Angelou's grandmother. But she has more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Its publication was both daring and historic, given the era of its debut in 1969. Angelou recites her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993. She returned to the southern United States in 1981 because she felt she had to come to terms with her past there and, despite having no bachelor's degree, accepted the lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she was one of a few full-time African-American professors. While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated. Maya Angelou became the first Black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco, California, in … In "an astonishing exception"[8] to the harsh economics of African Americans of the time, Angelou's grandmother prospered financially during the Great Depression and World War II because the general store she owned sold needed basic commodities and because "she made wise and honest investments". [43][44] In 1962, her relationship with Make ended, and she and Guy moved to Accra, Ghana so he could attend college, but he was seriously injured in an automobile accident. Eventually, the paraphrase was removed. She said, "It may take an hour to get into it, but once I'm in it—ha! "But what stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it's how she lived her life. [126] She published her seventh autobiography Mom & Me & Mom in 2013, at the age of 85. 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