Timeline of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was an acclaimed American author, poet, and civil rights activist. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Angelou overcame significant hardships in her early life, including trauma and a period of muteness.

She went on to become a prominent voice in literature, known for her autobiographical works that explored themes of identity, race, and resilience. Angelou’s most notable work, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” brought her international recognition and established her as a powerful storyteller.

Throughout her life, she actively participated in the civil rights movement, working alongside influential leaders and using her words to advocate for equality and social justice.

Maya Angelou’s contributions to literature and her unwavering commitment to activism continue to inspire and resonate with audiences worldwide.

Maya Angelou Timeline

April 4, 1928 – Maya Angelou is born in St. Louis, Missouri

Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson, came into the world on April 4, 1928. She was the second child of Bailey Johnson and Vivian Baxter Johnson.

Also Read: Accomplishments of Maya Angelou

Angelou’s birthplace in St. Louis, Missouri, would be the starting point for a life that would later inspire millions of people worldwide.

1931 – Her parents divorce, and she moves to Stamps, Arkansas

In 1931, when Angelou was just three years old, her parents’ marriage ended in divorce.

Following the separation, Angelou and her older brother, Bailey Jr., were sent to live with their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas.

Also Read: Facts About Maya Angelou

It was in Stamps that Angelou experienced the harsh realities of racism and discrimination, which would later influence her writings and activism.

Maya Angelou

1950 – She gives birth to her son, Clyde

In 1950, Maya Angelou gave birth to her only child, a son named Clyde, whom she affectionately called Guy. Angelou was just 17 years old at the time.

Becoming a mother at a young age presented Angelou with additional challenges, but she embraced her role with love and determination. As a single mother, she worked various jobs to support herself and her son while also pursuing her passion for writing.

1954-1955 – Angelou tours Europe as a performer

In 1954, Maya Angelou embarked on a tour of Europe as a performer in the internationally acclaimed opera production of “Porgy and Bess.”

This tour provided Angelou with an opportunity to showcase her talent as a singer and dancer in countries such as Italy, France, and Switzerland. Her exposure to different cultures and experiences during this time would have a profound impact on her artistic development and worldview.

1960-1961 – She lives in Cairo, Egypt, and works as an editor

In the early 1960s, Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt, with her son. During her time in Egypt, she worked as an editor for the English-language newspaper, The Arab Observer.

This experience allowed her to immerse herself in a new environment and engage with diverse perspectives. Angelou’s exposure to different cultures and her interactions with writers and intellectuals in Cairo enriched her understanding of the world and influenced her writing style.

1963 – Angelou becomes involved in the civil rights movement

In 1963, Maya Angelou became deeply involved in the civil rights movement in the United States. She worked alongside prominent civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, using her talents as a writer and speaker to advocate for racial equality and social justice.

Angelou’s commitment to the civil rights cause and her dedication to raising awareness about racial discrimination and injustice played a significant role in shaping her identity as an activist and influencer.

1969 – Her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” is published

In 1969, Maya Angelou achieved a major milestone in her writing career with the publication of her first autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

The book chronicles her early life, including her experiences growing up in Stamps, Arkansas, her sexual assault at a young age, and her journey toward self-discovery and empowerment.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” received critical acclaim for its raw honesty, poetic prose, and powerful portrayal of Angelou’s resilience in the face of adversity. The book became an international bestseller and established Angelou as a prominent literary figure.

Maya Angelou

1993 – Angelou recites a poem at President Clinton’s inauguration

In 1993, Maya Angelou was invited to recite a poem at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, making her the first African American and the first woman to perform such a role at a presidential inauguration.

The poem she recited, titled “On the Pulse of Morning,” emphasized unity, hope, and social progress. Her powerful performance resonated with millions of people around the world and brought her even greater recognition as a poet and public figure.

2014 – Maya Angelou passes away on May 28 in North Carolina

Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014, at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the age of 86. Her death marked the end of a remarkable life filled with profound contributions to literature, civil rights activism, and the arts.

Angelou’s passing was mourned by people from all walks of life, and her legacy as an influential writer and advocate for equality and justice continues to inspire and impact generations. Her works and her unwavering voice remain a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring spirit of resilience.