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Women of the Hall

Year Honored: 1998
Birth: 1928 - Death: 2014
Born In: Missouri,
Died In: ,
Achievements: Arts
Educated In: California
Schools Attended: Mission High School, San Francisco's Labor School
Worked In: California, New York, North Carolina

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, through her powerful writings, has inspired generations of women, African Americans and all people who struggle to overcome prejudice, discrimination and abuse.

Throughout her life, Angelou has defied social norms. After being raped by her mother's boyfriend, she withdrew and was mute for five years. However, encouraged by her grandmother, who introduced her to literature, she gradually emerged as a talented artist. Her diverse career includes being the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco.

In 1954, Angelou turned to acting before she started writing while also working as northern coordinator and fund raiser for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In the 1960s, Angelou began to focus on her writing and, in 1970, her first autobiographical work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, became a best seller and was nominated for a National Book Award.

Angelou's writings have altered society for the better, bringing greater diversity into the theater and literature. Her autobiographical works provide powerful insights into the evolution of black women in the 20th century. In 1971, she became the first black woman to have a screenplay produced as a film -- Georgia, Georgia. Her writings have brought her numerous awards and have been nominated for a Tony Award, an Emmy Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

Maya Angelou, died in 2014
Additional Sources:

McPherson, Dolly Aimee. Order out of Chaos: The Autobiographical Works of Maya Angelou. London: Virago Press, 1991. NOTES: Incudes bibliographical references (p.[173]-176).I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 1970. Gather Together in My Name. Random House, Inc., 1974.

Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas. Mass Market Paperback, Bantam Books, 1976.

And I Shall Rise. Random House, 1978.

The Heart of a Woman. Random House/Bantam, 1981.

I Shall Not Be Moved. Bantam, 1991.

A Song Flung Up From Heaven Random House, 2002.