Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson, April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA) is an African American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure with the American Civil Rights Movement.
Angelou is known for the autobiographical writings I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) and All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986). Her volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1993, Angelou read her poem On the Pulse of Morning for Bill Clinton's Presidential inauguration at his request.
Angelou has published many other collections of verse, speaks numerous languages fluently, has traveled abroad to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and has worked as a journalist for foreign publications.
She has received numerous honors from the academy including the Yale University Fellowship. She was also named the Rockefeller Foundation Scholar in Italy. Angelou has taught at the University of Ghana and the University of Kansas and holds a lifetime chair as the Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. Additional honors include the Woman of the Year Award and a nomination for the Tony Awards.