Maya Angelou


  • Distinguished writer who experienced a lot of domestic crisis as a child. She began earning for herself as a cab driver, and then became a dancer and singer. Through her journey learnt five languages and showed a keen interest in English literature.⁣

  • Maya Paved the way for many aspiring artists and her influence broke racial barriers. Her autobiography, ‘’I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’’ became one of the most prominent autobiographies ever written, and touched upon the subjects of sexual exploitation, identity crisis, and literacy of a woman in a male-dominated society. The book was chosen as one of the contenders in 1970 for the ‘National Book Award’ in the United States.⁣

  • Angelou became the second poet in history to be present at a presidential inauguration, and the first African American woman in 1993, when she read ‘On the Pulse of Morning’ at President Clinton’s inauguration ceremony. She was also the first woman to write a screenplay of a major film in 1972. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.⁣

  • Championed women’s rights and gender equality. Selflessly contributed to the civil rights movement and advocated against war and universal peace. She organized the Cabaret for Freedom benefit to raise money for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.⁣

  • Her words and legacy continue to awaken hope around the world. Maya was awarded the presidential medal for freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, by President Barack Obama in 2010. She died on May 28, 2014.

Amina Zaid