Maya Angelou is an American author and poet. During her sixty year career, she has published seven autobiographies, multiple poetry books, and three books of essays; and she has also written and directed movies, television shows, and plays. Although she is an influential American poet, she is most known for her seven autobiographies. Angelou was active in the civil rights movement and worked side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Throughout her career Angelou has received dozens of medals and honorary degrees from various organizations and universities all over the country. Maya Angelou has been an influential person throughout her life and through her poetry. .
Maya Angelou was born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout her childhood she moved back and forth from St Louis, Missouri, and with her grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. It was in Stamps where Maya Angelou experienced firsthand the cruelty of racial discrimination. She attended George Washington High School and studied dance and drama at the California Labor School. Three weeks after her high school graduation, she gave birth to her son, Guy. Her writing career began to take off when she joined the Harlem Writers Guild in 1958. In the sixties she was heavily involved in the civil rights movement and began to form organizations with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.; both men were assassinated before the groups officially formed. She wrote her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in 1969. The autobiography tells the story of her life up to the age of seventeen, and it brought her international fame and recognition. She wrote the screenplay for the movie Georgia, Georgia in 1972 and became the first African American woman to do so. The list of her publications includes more than thirty bestselling titles. Angelou has taught at Wake Forest University since 1982 and holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies.