American writer, actor, civil right activist, and educator Maya Angelou was born and named Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928. (Since Maya was born and raised during the segregation, Maya Angelou's works were the reflections of her childhood experiences and hardships. Her life journey and accomplishments subverted the stereotypical assumptions of a colored woman's life. .
At the age of three, Maya Angelou's parents were separated. She and her brother, Bailey Johnson, went to live with her grandmother in the segregated rural area of Stamps, Arkansas of the 1930's. "Maya" was Bailey's special nickname for her and she took her husband's last name. (King, 1994) The marriage complexity in her family was a big contribution to Maya's nightmare childhood. She lived with her grandmother who she called "Momma Henderson". She started a small business, The Store, where black folks came to purchase groceries and gossiping with each other. (King,1994).
Arkansas of the 1930's and 1940's represented the brutality and racial discrimination of American south. Moving back to St. Louis at the age seven to live with her mother and her uncle, Angelou was sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend. Once she revealed the identity of the man, he was found murdered a few days after by her uncle. Maya Angelou was terrified by the power of her words and decided to stay silent for the next four years of her life. (Biography.com, 2015).
Maya moved to California at age of thirteen and became the first African American conductor in San Francisco. Maya soon gave birth to her son after graduation when she was only sixteen. She decided not to get married to the baby's father because there was no love involved. Being a single mother during her teen, Maya's life mirrored the typical racist criticism and judgment which people put on African Americans during this segregated period of time. (biography.com,2015).