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  • Writer's pictureKatie York

Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Maya Angelou


****CW: mention of sexual abuse and violence***


Dr. Maya Angelou was a woman of many talents. She was an author, educator, a civil rights activist, and a poet.


As a child, Dr. Angelou suffered the trauma of being raped by her mother's boyfriend. Angelou bravely told a family member. The boyfriend was found guilty of this crime, but was only jailed for one day. Just a few days later, he was murdered. Some theorized Dr. Angelou's family killed him.


Dr. Angelou was subsequently mute for almost five years.


“I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name,” she later said. “And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone.”


Records of Dr. Angelou's many accomplishments could fill a book. A few notable achievements:

  • She was the first Black woman to write a screenplay for a major film release (Georgia, Georgia).


  • Her autobiography "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" was a New York Times bestseller.


  • She was awarded the presidential medal of freedom in 2010.


Dr. Angelou died at the age of 86 in 2014. Her work lives on.



ID: photo of Dr. Maya Angelou in 1969. She is a Black woman wearing a headwrap and white shirt. She is smiling and looking off camera; radiating joy.


Credit NYT Chester Higgins, Jr.


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