The Guardian writer Gary Younge ,  Four years later, the children's father "came to Stamps without warning"  and returned them to their mother's care in St. At the age of eight, while living with her mother, Angelou was sexually abused and raped by her mother's boyfriend, a man named Freeman. She told her brother, who told the rest of their family.
Freeman was found guilty but was jailed for only one day. Four days after his release, he was murdered, probably by Angelou's uncles. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone. Bertha Flowers, with helping her speak again. Before graduating, she worked as the first black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco.
In , Angelou married Tosh Angelos, a Greek electrician, former sailor, and aspiring musician, despite the condemnation of interracial relationships at the time and the disapproval of her mother.
Ailey and Angelou formed a dance team, calling themselves "Al and Rita", and performed modern dance at fraternal black organizations throughout San Francisco, but never became successful. It was a "distinctive name"  that set her apart and captured the feel of her calypso dance performances.
During and , Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She began her practice of learning the language of every country she visited, and in a few years she gained proficiency in several languages.
According to scholar Lyman B. Hagen, her contributions to civil rights as a fundraiser and SCLC organizer were successful and "eminently effective". She became an administrator at the University of Ghana , and was active in the African-American expatriate community.
She performed in a revival of The Blacks in Geneva and Berlin. Devastated and adrift, she joined her brother in Hawaii, where she resumed her singing career. She moved back to Los Angeles to focus on her writing career. Working as a market researcher in Watts , Angelou witnessed the riots in the summer of She acted in and wrote plays, and returned to New York in She met her lifelong friend Rosa Guy and renewed her friendship with James Baldwin , whom she had met in Paris in the s and called "my brother", during this time.
In , Martin Luther King Jr. She agreed, but "postpones again",  and in what Gillespie calls "a macabre twist of fate",  he was assassinated on her 40th birthday April 4. As Gillespie states, "If was a year of great pain, loss, and sadness, it was also the year when America first witnessed the breadth and depth of Maya Angelou's spirit and creative genius".
Also in , inspired at a dinner party she attended with Baldwin, cartoonist Jules Feiffer , and his wife Judy, and challenged by Random House editor Robert Loomis , she wrote her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , published in This brought her international recognition and acclaim.
She also wrote the film's soundtrack, despite having very little additional input in the filming of the movie. She wrote articles, short stories, TV scripts, documentaries, autobiographies, and poetry, produced plays, and was named visiting professor at several colleges and universities. She was "a reluctant actor",  and was nominated for a Tony Award in for her role in Look Away. She was given a multitude of awards during this period, including over thirty honorary degrees from colleges and universities from all over the world.
She returned to the southern United States in because she felt she had to come to terms with her past there and ,despite having no bachelor's degree, accepted the lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem , North Carolina, where she was one of a few full-time African-American professors.
Her final speaking engagement at the university was in late Kennedy 's inauguration in Angelou achieved her goal of directing a feature film in , Down in the Delta , which featured actors such as Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes. The album was responsible for three of Angelou's only Billboard chart appearances. She stated, "We are growing up beyond the idiocies of racism and sexism.
Memorial in Washington, D. She spoke out in opposition to a paraphrase of a quotation by King that appeared on the memorial, saying, "The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit",  and demanded that it be changed. Eventually, the paraphrase was removed. Maya Angelou,  I also wear a hat or a very tightly pulled head tie when I write. I suppose I hope by doing that I will keep my brains from seeping out of my scalp and running in great gray blobs down my neck, into my ears, and over my face.
Maya Angelou,  Nothing so frightens me as writing, but nothing so satisfies me. It's like a swimmer in the [English] Channel: Savin forced Lee to sign a false statement accusing another man of being the father of her child.
After Savin was indicted for forcing Lee to commit perjury, and despite the discovery that Savin was the father, a jury found him not guilty. Lee was sent to the Clinton County poorhouse in Missouri with her daughter, Marguerite Baxter, who became Angelou's grandmother. Angelou described Lee as "that poor little Black girl, physically and mentally bruised". Critic Mary Jane Lupton has explained that when Angelou spoke about her life, she did so eloquently but informally and "with no time chart in front of her".
Angelou held many jobs, including some in the sex trade , working as a prostitute and madame for lesbians, as she described in her second autobiography, Gather Together in My Name. In a interview, Angelou said, "I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks, 'I never did anything wrong. I have no skeletons in my closet. In fact, I have no closet. My mom or dad never did anything wrong.
Louis, which resulted in rumors of her death and, according to Angelou, concern among her friends and family worldwide. Angelou" by people outside of her family and close friends. She owned two homes in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and a "lordly brownstone"  in Harlem , which was purchased in  and was full of her "growing library"  of books she collected throughout her life, artwork collected over the span of many decades, and well-stocked kitchens. Guardian writer Gary Younge reported that in Angelou's Harlem home were several African wall hangings and her collection of paintings, including ones of several jazz trumpeters, a watercolor of Rosa Parks , and a Faith Ringgold work titled "Maya's Quilt Of Life".
The Welcome Table , which featured 73 recipes, many of which she learned from her grandmother and mother, accompanied by 28 vignettes. Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart, which focused on weight loss and portion control.
She would wake early in the morning and check into a hotel room, where the staff was instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She would write on legal pads while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to play solitaire , Roget's Thesaurus , and the Bible, and would leave by the early afternoon. She would average 10—12 pages of written material a day, which she edited down to three or four pages in the evening. Angelou stated that she played cards in order to get to that place of enchantment and in order to access her memories more effectively.
She said, "It may take an hour to get into it, but once I'm in it—ha! Although Angelou had reportedly been in poor health and had canceled recent scheduled appearances, she was working on another book, an autobiography about her experiences with national and world leaders. He said, "She left this mortal plane with no loss of acuity and no loss in comprehension.
List of Maya Angelou works Angelou wrote a total of seven autobiographies. According to scholar Mary Jane Lupton, Angelou's third autobiography Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas marked the first time a well-known African-American autobiographer had written a third volume about her life. Angelou wrote five collections of essays, which writer Hilton Als called her "wisdom books" and "homilies strung together with autobiographical texts".
While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated. Maya Angelou  Angelou's long and extensive career also included poetry, plays, screenplays for television and film, directing, acting, and public speaking. Her screenplay, Georgia, Georgia , was the first original script by a black woman to be produced, and she was the first African-American woman to direct a major motion picture, Down in the Delta, in