Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has dedicated her life to end
prejudices faced by many black females in the 20th century.
As an author, poet, and entertainer, she is known best for
her strong portrayal of African-American women. Some of
her most outstanding work is the series of autobiographies
that she wrote telling about her childhood. Her work has
contributed immensely to Americans everywhere. She has
also broken many barriers for black women in writing,
entertainment, and in film making. Maya Angelou is definitely
a positive role model to people everywhere. Maya Angelou
has made many contributions through her poetry, writing,
songwriting, acting, and film directing. She has written a
series of autobiographical books focusing on her childhood
until the birth of her own child, ten of which have appeared
on the best selling list (“Biography” 1). The most prestigious
of the novels is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This is a
very controversial novel dealing with many serious issues
including rape and murder. It is her most critically acclaimed
work and was nominated for the National Book Award
(“Maya American” 1). She often writes using a female as the
strong role model. In addition, she has published many
distinguished poems which have received recognition by
many people including President Clinton. Her poem “On the
Pulse of Morning” was chosen by President Clinton to be
read at the 1993 presidential inauguration. Many of her
volumes of poetry have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize
including Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?, And Still I Rise,
and Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Die (“Maya
American” 2). In addition to writing, she has had success in
other categories of entertainment. Her screenplay Georgia,
Georgia was produced in 1971, and she wrote and
produced a prize winning documentary “Afro-Americans in
the Arts” which received a Golden Eagle award
(“Biography” 1) (“Maya Angelou” 1). Her musical
compositions have been recorded by many famous people
including B.B. King (“Biography” 1). Likewise, she was
nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the hit movie
Roots (“Biography” 1). Many distinguished Americans have
chosen her to serve on commissions and attend very
important conferences. Martian Luther King, Jr., requested
her as the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference; Gerald Ford appointed her to the
Bicentennial Commission, and Jimmy Carter named her to
the National Commission on the Observance of International
Women’s Year (“Maya Angelou” 1). Maya Angelou has
made an enormous contribution to not only the black
society, but to everyone in the 1900’s. Maya Angelou’s
work has broken many barriers for the black writers,
entertainers, and directors. She has been a woman of firsts
among the African American women. Angelou was the
ground breaker for many black women in script writing and
directing. In 1971, she became the first black woman to
have an original screenplay produced (“Biography” 1). She
was not only the first African-American, but also the first
woman to read her work at a presidential inauguration
(“Maya American” 2). In her series of autobiographical
books, she describes the racist and sexual pressures put on
black women during the time when she was a young girl.
This helped people become aware of what was going on
during this time period. In addition to all of this, she was also
San Francisco’s first black woman conductor (“Biography”
1). Ms. Angelou now spends her time informing others about
her knowledge of prejudices, and teaches students to stand
up for their rights. She is a professor of American Studies at
Wake Forest University in North Carolina (“Biography” 1).
She also educates about courage, perseverance,
self-acceptance, and self-actualization. Maya Angelou helps
African-American women to speak out against prejudices
and is definitely a role model to many young black women.
In conclusion, Maya Angelou is a remarkable person, and
she has made a tremendous contribution to all Americans
through her writing, screenwriting, and songwriting. Her
autobiographies help readers to visualize all of the hardships
Maya Angelou faced and overcame while growing up. She
helps black women to realize they do not have to be
defeated by prejudices, and is an identity for young women
of all races to relate to.

Category: History