She stopped speaking entirely for six years – until she was 13. Poet and author Dr. Maya Angelou. Born as Marguerite Annie Johnson she later wrote a full array of books, essays, poetry and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows.
Her 1969 biography, the first of seven, was called “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and focused on the early years of her life as an African-American. Before she started writing, Angelou had some other occupations as a young adult: She was a fry cook, prostitute, nightclub dancer and a performer.
“Nothing so frightens me as writing, but nothing so satisfies me”,
Maya Angelou said in the late 1980s.
At the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993, Maya Angelou read an autobiographical poem called “On the Pulse of Morning”. Becoming only the second poet in history to read a poem at a presidential inauguration. The first woman. The first African-American. Barack Obama’s sister had been named after Maya Angelou.
He and Bill Clinton now were among the many artists and celebrities who paid tributes and condolences to Maya Angelou. She died at the age of 86 at Winston-Salem, North Carolina – on the morning of May 28, 2014.
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon,
The dinosaur, who left dried tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
From “On the Pulse of Morning” by Maya Angelou.
Emmy-nominated writer, creative director, photographer and filmmaker Ben Hughes recently published a video with Maya Angelou. Watch it below.