Author, poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou died Wednesday at the age of 86. As one of the literary world’s most influential figures, Angelou’s legacy has been enriched by a life replete with terrible struggles overcome by amazing triumphs.
Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Mo. Her older brother gave her the nickname Maya, which stuck with her throughout her life. When her parents split up, Maya and her brother were sent to live in Arkansas with a grandparent.
When reunited in St. Loius with their mother, Angelou was assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend when she was just eight years old. The man was charged but only jailed for a day, and was later found dead. This series of events traumatized Angelou but also led to her creative awakening.
The siblings were sent back to Arkansas, which like much of the…
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