What Is a Biography of Maya Angelou?


Quick Answer

A biography of Maya Angelou is a piece of writing outlining the life of this award-winning African-American author. Maya Angelou extensively documented her own life in seven autobiographies.

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Starting with 1969's "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings," Angelou's first six autobiographies covered her life from her 1927 birth through 1968. These books describe Angelou's difficult early life, marked by abuse, poverty and living with racial discrimination. In the 1950s, Angelou became a successful dancer and singer while continuing to develop her writing. Throughout the 1960s, Angelou grew increasingly dedicated to activism in favor of racial equality and social justice.

When "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" was released in 1969, it was an immediate bestseller and received widespread acclaim. In the 1970s, Angelou became the first black woman to write a screenplay, for the Swedish film "Georgia, Georgia." She also received a role in "Roots," a 1977 miniseries that helped push African-American narratives into the cultural mainstream. Angelou continued to pen well-received books until her final years. A year before her 2014 death, Angelou concluded her autobiographical series with "Mom & Me & Mom," a book that describes her relationship with her mother from her birth through her mother's death in 1991.

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