Born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928, Maya Angelou defied labels. She was a walking encyclopedia of careers and passions. She wrote 36 books. She was an actress, director, playwright, composer, singer, and dancer. She once worked as a madam in a brothel and as the first female and first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. She was best known for her debut memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), which remains widely read in schools. She described being raped at 8 (by her mother's boyfriend) and becoming an unwed mother at 17. She died on May 28, 2014 at age 86 in her home in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She is survived by her son, Guy Johnson, a poet and novelist.
Maya Angelou was friends with Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Oprah Winfrey who hosted grand birthday parties for her. #mayaangelou #iknowwhythecagedbirdsings