"One of the first things that a young person must internalize Deep Down in the blood and bones, is the understanding that although he may encounter many defeats, he must not be defeated. If life teaches us anything, it may be that we need to suffer some defeats.".
Authoress, poet, playwright, editor, songwriter, singer, teacher, and dancer, Maya Angelou easily fits into all these categories. In the words of one critic, Maya Angelou has touched more bases in her career then many. Yet, all these categories fail to reflect the scope of her life and the magnitude of her achievements. She describes herself as "six foot, big feet, black, and female," Angelou is known more than most, but remains a perfect picture of strength and integrity. More than a survivor, she has defeated the demons of her past and her personal insecurities to produce a body of work that is both intensely personal and universal. .
Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Johnson, is an author, poet, historian, conductor, actor, singer, songwriter, playwright, film director, and civil rights activist. Born in a segregated rural area of St. Louis, Arkansas, she comes from a broken home, was raped at eight, and was an unwed mother at 16 years old. Throughout all these circumstances she still managed to become San Francisco's first black woman conductor. She was also the first black woman to have an original screenplay produced in 1971, Georgia, Georgia. She has several volumes of poetry and B.B. King recorded some of her composed music. She was also nominated for an Emmy Award for her acting in Roots and Georgia. She is fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, and West African Fanti. .
Ms. Angelou began her career in drama and dance, and she married a South African freedom fighter and lived in Cairo. During her five years in Africa, she lived in Egypt and became the editor of The Arab Observer, the only English-language news weekly in the Middle East.