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Maya Angelou

Angelou, Maya (mĪˈə ănˈjəlō) [key], 1928–, African-American writer and performer, b. St. Louis, Mo. as Marguerite Johnson. She toured Europe and Africa in the musical Porgy and Bess (1954–55), then sang in New York City nightclubs, joined the Harlem Writers Guild, and took part in several off-Broadway productions, including Genet's The Blacks and her own Cabaret for Freedom (1960). During the 1960s she was active in the African-American political movement; she subsequently spent several years in Ghana as editor of the African Review. Her six autobiographical volumes (1970–2002), beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, have generally been well-received. She has also published several volumes of poetry, including And I Still Rise (1987). Angelou read her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the inauguration of President Clinton in 1993.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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