Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St Louis, Missouri.
As a teenager, Maya Angelou earned a scholarship to study dance and drama at the California Labor School, but she briefly dropped out when she was 16 to become a cable auto conductor in San Francisco.
Angelou's autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. It tells the story of her life up to the age of 17.
This resulted in extreme trauma, and believing she had caused the man's death by mentioning her name, she refused to speak for five years.
Her books explore the issues of race, identity, family and travel.
She lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she was a professor of American studies at Wake Forest University.
Her parents were doorman and navy dietitian Bailey Johnson and nurse and card dealer Vivian. While on a visit to her mother, Maya was sexually abused by her mother's partner. Ultimately, he served just one day in jail. She also sent King's widow, Coretta Scott King flowers every year after King's death up until 2006 when Coretta Scott King died.
Angelou once said: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". The man was killed by her uncles when she revealed about the incident.
How did Maya Angelou become an author?
The strong character had many different careers before becoming a writer, including being a cook, waitress, sex-worker, dancer, actor and playwright.
In 1968, Martin Luther King asked Maya to organise a march.
"I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates".
The attractive cartoon depicts images accompanying the powerful words of Angelou's famous poem ' And Still I Rise', recited by a series of well-spoken voices. Angelou received a Pulitzer nomination, as well as the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, honoring her contributions to literature and her powerful ability to illuminate both female and African American experiences using her resounding, unforgettable voice.