Maya Angelou knew how to touch every nerve and soul when she wrote. It was as though her writing spoke to directly to you, so much so that she became fondly known as Aunt Maya. We remember her as one of America’s greatest poets, singers, memoirists, and civil rights activists. There are 7 not so well known facts that add another layer of awesomeness to her.
7 Not so well known Facts About Maya Angelou
- Her birth name is actually Marguerite Annie Johnson. Maya was a childhood nickname and Angelou is a shortened version of Angelopulos, the surname of a Greek sailor.
- Angelou became the first black woman to work as a streetcar conductor in San Francisco, according to the Times.
- She became a poet and writer after many jobs as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer.
- Although Angelou was 6 feet tall, she managed to have a career as a dancer as a young woman.
- She stopped celebrating her birthday because the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a friend of hers, was assassinated on that day.
- Angelou spoke French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic and the Ghanaian language Fanti, according to her website.
- Although she excelled as a writer, Angelou said writing did not come easily to her. In the Paris Review she said, “It must look easy, but it takes me forever to get it to look so easy.”
All this time we were convinced that writing was her innate gift. Whether it was nurtured or innate this is inspiring for younger girls who struggle to be good at something but are in fact awesome!
Photo credit Famous Biographies