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Maya Angelou

Born as Marguerite Johnson in 1928, Maya Angelou is a 20th Century renaissance woman who was catapulted into international fame with her best-selling books. However, she is much more than just an author and a poet. During her lifetime, she was able to hone in on her various talents as a singer, actor, dancer, filmmaker, professor, and political activist. Angelou aligned with respected Civil Rights Leaders Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to bring about change in America. In the aftermath of Dr. King’s death, she switched gears and penned her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which peeled back the layers of her life and shared the turmoil of being a childhood rape victim. It was her complicated life that transformed her into a phenomenal woman with unwavering confidence, poise, and an unparalleled ability to inspire mankind. Hosted by Henry Louis Gates. Jr. — and with additional commentary from Imani Perry, Farrah Griffin, and Brittney Cooper —we honor Maya Angelou’s legacy and international contributions in this episode of Black History in Two Minutes or So.

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