Maya Angelou’s writing is both prolific and poignant, and although the American author has been gone for almost five years now, her words of strength and inspiration still impact the world of activism and literature. Before her passing, she had been reportedly working on another autobiography which was to highlight her experiences with leaders on both the national and global scale. During her life, she worked toward national and global racial and gender equality, themes which largely define her legacy.
Perhaps, Angelou is best known for “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The brilliant, personal piece of writing follows a young Maya Angelou, who lived in the American south, growing up in the 1930s and moving to California in the 1940s. The book looks at issues of racism, childhood insecurity and identity and spiritual strength.
Her poetry is also highly revered around the globe, and President Bill Clinton had chosen Angelou to publicly recite her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at his inaugural address in 1993. Many have labeled the work “a soaring call for peace, justice, and harmony.” She is undoubtedly one of the most prolific poets of the 20th century.
Angela, in addition to her poetic work, penned seven autobiographies, multiple TV and movie screenplays and also acted during her long, storied career. She also became a member of the Directors Guild of America. Angelou kept creating more work, year after year, which continued to impact the American social sphere. She made her official directorial debut at 70 with “Down in the Delta” in 1998.
To her credit, Angelou also took home three Grammy awards (and five nominations) for best-spoken word albums in 1993, 1995 and 2002. These included for “On The Pulse Of Morning,” “Phenomenal Woman” and “A Song Flung Up To Heaven.” The celebrated media star also picked up a Tony nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1972 play “Look Away” by Jeremy Kilter.
When it comes to giving back, Maya Angelou’s charity work speaks volumes; these would include Legacy of Hope, The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and See Forever Foundation. The literary legend also worked with Cheerful Givers and Hands on Nashville. As her late brother once said about his sister, “She speaks to our humanity, and she reminds us that we are both brother and sister to the rest of the human race.”