Maya Angelou's contributions to society include literature, acting, film, education and civil rights activism. In addition to writing her classic books and poems, she also directed television, wrote scripts, produced documentaries, wrote and composed music for Broadway, and gave an inauguration address for President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Maya Angelou was an instrumental figure in the Civil Rights Movement through her organizational skills and writing abilities. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. chose Angelou to become a coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where she organized events to promote awareness of issues of race and freedom. She further raised public consciousness about race relations through her famous memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The book told of her life growing up amidst the prejudices of the age.
Some of Angelou’s other autobiographical books are “Mom & Me & Mom,” “All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes,” “Gather Together in My Name” and “Singin’ and Swingin’ and Getting’ Merry Like
Christmas.” Her poetry includes “Now Sheba Sings the Song,” “Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie” and “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.” President Barack Obama recognized her legacy by awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.