Know Our Names: The Story of Maya Angelou

Savannah Feustel

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

A woman of many talents and best known for her 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou is a civil rights activist with multiple honors including two NAACP Image Awards for her outstanding literary work.

Maya Angelou lived a problematic childhood becoming virtually mute for several years after a traumatic experience. After winning a scholarship for dance and theater, she worked several odd jobs before her career in performance took off in the mid-1950s. In much of the 1960s, Angelou lived abroad in Africa working as an editor and freelance writer. Because she held a position at the University of Ghana, she joined a community of “Revolutionist Returnees” and became close with black nationalist leader Malcolm X. Angelou continued to be a voice in literature for civil rights until her death in 2014.