American civil rights activist and poet Dr Maya Angelou has been honoured with a Google Doodle video. The video is accompanied by a clip of her and a few women she’s inspired reciting her most popular poem Still I Rise. She would have celebrated her 90th birthday today.
In celebration of the Still I Rise poet, we share interesting facts about the literary icon.
- Maya was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on 4 April 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
- Her older brother Bailey Jr., nicknamed here “Maya”.
- Maya was sexually abused and raped by a man named Freeman who was her mother’s boyfriend at the time. Angelou told her brother who told the family and Freeman was jailed for one day. Four days after his release he was killed.
- Prior to being an internationally recognised and acclaimed literary icon, she worked as a fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer (She was a cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess)
- Maya Angelou actively worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement
- She’s received numerous awards including more than 50 honorary degrees.
- She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.