American author and poet
Maya Angelou is part of the fabric of modern America. She has told her story of being a key part of the civil rights movement through poetry, novels and film. She is best known for her six autobiographies, most notably ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’. In 1993, President Bill Clinton asked her to recite one of her poems at his inauguration.
Angelou was born in Missouri in 1928 into a deeply segregated society. Her parent’s divorce meant she was sent back and forth between her mother and grandmother. Her mother’s boyfriend raped her when she was eight. His later murder left Angelou mute for five years. She studied drama and literature at school, and three weeks after graduating, gave birth to her son.