Maya Angelou, An African American Idol
Who is Maya Angelou you might ask? Well, Maya Angelou’s real name is Marguerite Annie Johnson. She was born by Bailey and Vivian Baxter Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. When she was three years old, her parents split up. Her and her brother, Bailey, was shipped off to a small town called Stamps, Arkansas to live with their grandmother. Maya and her brother were very close and that’s how she received the nickname “Maya.” While in Arkansas, Maya witnessed racial discrimination which was very common in the South. Her grandmother, although, helped her “absorb the deep religious faith and old-fashioned courtesy of traditional African American life.” In 1935, she went to Chicago to go visit her mother. During that year, Maya’s mother had a boyfriend. That boyfriend raped Maya at the age of seven. After the trial, one of Maya’s uncle killed Mr. Freeman, the man that raped Maya, in a dark alley. Maya was so ashamed and shocked about this because she thought she was the reason why he was dead. So for a while she would not speak to anyone.
While Maya was attending Mission High School, she received a scholarship to study drama and dance at the San Francisco Labor School. In 1944, Maya became a trolley car conductor. She was one of the first African American females to do so. A few weeks after Maya graduated from Mission High, she had her son, Clyde “Guy” Johnson. From there, Maya had to struggle because now she was a single mother and had to work two jobs to support her and her son. In 1949, Maya married a Greek sailor named Tosh Angelos, but that only lasted until 1952. While she was dancing, she got her name Maya Angelou from her nickname her brother gave her and part of Tosh’s last name. In 1973, Maya marries a Paul Du Feu but once again, that only lasted until 1980. At least it was longer than her first marriage. After that she never remarried.
In between all of these relationships, Maya traveled and did...