by: Josh Eddy
Maya Angelou is one of the most well-known African Americans of all time.
She created poems, stood up to segregation, sang, danced, and spoke in front of
crowds. She has inﬂuenced and inspired many people's lives.
Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri on
April 4, 1928. She had a very odd and sad childhood. Her parents,Vivian and
Bailey Johnson, divorced when little Maya was three. Maya stayed mostly at her
grandmother's house with her brother, Bailey, in Stamps, Arkansas. She barely got
to see her parents anymore. The person who could always cheer Maya up was
her brother. Sometimes he'd tell her a joke, and sometimes he would just play
with her. They always would have fun together. After her years in grade school,
she went to the California Labor School and studied music and dance. She also
performed and danced at theaters and restaurants. (Gillespie; Harper)
When she was older, she switched her name to Maya instead of Marguerite
because her brother used to call her "My" or " Myah". She also switched her last
name to Angelou because her mentor suggested that her married last name be
that instead of Angelos. In 1960, Maya moved to Cairo, Egypt with her son. She
edited a newspaper called the Arab Observer. She studied and mastered ﬁve
languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Fanti, and Arabic. She moved to Ghana and
taught music and dance. She also worked for other newspapers there too. She
moved back to America in 1964. She struggled with segregation, but helped in the
struggle to ban it with her poems. Her poems made people aware about
segregation. (Gillespie; Harper)
Maya Angelou did many things to change the society. Her poems and speeches
made everyone aware that segregation was cruel and not right. She was
nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for her collection "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of
Water 'Fore I Die." I chose her as my hero because she made great poems that I
love and cherish. Maya Angelou encourages me to write more.
Maya has changed the world in many ways. She supports many charities like
UNICEF and others. She now teaches at Wake Forest University. She was named
Reynolds Professor at the school. I think that Maya Angelou was the greatest poet
of all time.
by: Maya Angelou
The day hangs heavy
loose and grey
when you're away.
A crown of thorns
a shirt of hair
is what I wear.
No one knows
my lonely heart
when we're apart
Maya Angelou: A Glorious Celebration. Gillespie, Butler, & Long
Maya Angelou: Poetry for Young People. Edited by: Edwin Graves Wilson
Journey to Freedom: Maya Angelou. Judith E. Harper