What Was Maya Angelou's Family Life Like?


Quick Answer

Maya Angelou and her brother Bailey went to live with her paternal grandmother after her parents' divorce when she was only 3. She and her brother had a close relationship, and he was the one who first called her "Maya" because he could not pronounce Marguerite.

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Full Answer

Growing up in Arkansas, Maya Angelou suffered discrimination. Her grandmother, however, instilled in her granddaughter her own faith and values, for which Maya was always grateful. Other members of her extended family had a positive effect on her as well.

Bailey was her only confidante when, at age 7, she visited her mother and was molested by her mother's boyfriend. Nevertheless, other family members learned of the rape. When Maya's uncle killed her molester, she felt responsible and refused to speak for five years.

Maya and her brother went to live with her mother again in San Francisco when she was 13. She studied dance and drama as a teenager, and she graduated weeks before the birth of her son, Guy.

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