By: Kym Grinnage email
This week we say goodbye to an American giant. Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928, was globally renowned as an author, poet, actor, director and producer of plays, movies and television shows.
Maya Angelou is probably known best for her seven autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry. One of her most widely known works, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, was written in 1969 and discusses her sometimes difficult life up until the age of seventeen.
In addition to her many talents she was also a person of action. Miss Angelou was a coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a journalist in Egypt and in Ghana, during Ghana's days of decolonization.
She spent most of her life writing, lecturing and discussing her life and the African American experience in America. Angelou was a constant presence in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with notables such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X among others in her fight for racial equality, human rights and women's rights.
Her eloquent baritone voice was uniquely and unmistakably her own. Without a doubt she was a woman who rose from tragedy to triumph. As Oprah Winfrey said, Maya Angelou was able to artfully and soulfully represent life to us so that we could see a better picture of ourselves through her. She will be remembered for truly living life to the fullest for 86 years.