Dr. Maya Angelou is a celebrated novelist, poet, memoirist, educator, actress, dramatist, filmmaker, and civil rights activist. Her memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is the first nonfiction bestseller written by an African American woman and she has received several honors during her career, including the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and 3 Grammy Awards. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and Stamps, Arkansas, where she faced racial discrimination and prejudice and became a rape victim at age seven. When Angelou was sixteen, she gave birth to her son, Guy, and supported him as a single mother by working as a waitress and chef. Later, her love of performance, music, and poetry would blossom for others to notice.
Like Liz Murray, Maya Angelou did not let her past hold her back. Instead, she used it as a tool to help her with her career. She overcame each and every obstacle that crossed her path to succeed as a performer, author, and activist, no matter how daunting they were. She really pushed herself to be all that she could be, achieving milestones like becoming the first African American woman to have her screenplay, Georgia, Georgia, produced, and becoming the first African American woman to write a nonfiction bestseller, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. In addition, Angelou has recited her work at President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inaugural ceremony and she befriended historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey.
Although Dr. Maya Angelou went through prejudice, discrimination, abuse, and lots of pain earlier in her life, she allowed time to heal her and later pursued her passions: performance, music, and poetry. At Alley’s House, those who may have experienced a similar past with Dr. Angelou, are reassured that they are not alone. They are insured that there are others who have gone through the same humiliation, anxiety, and depression that they are going through. Furthermore, they need to understand that these type of feelings can disappear with the right help and support. No matter how bad life may seem at the moment, as Angelou proves, it always gets better as time elapses. Like Katy Perry sings in her song “Firework,” “After a hurricane, comes