Maya Angelou: Life, Biography, And Stories About The Literary Titan

Maya Angelou circa 1970. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928, Maya Angelou was a titan of the American literary world. An expert in prose, poetry, and academic writing, she exemplified modern storytelling in exquisite narrative while also providing her audience a historical account of what it was like to be a young black girl in the early 1900s.

As a teenager, Angelou showed her tenacity when she applied to be a streetcar driver. Though initially turned away, she sat outside the hiring office every day for two weeks. When asked why she wanted the job so badly, she simply responded, "I like the uniforms. I like people." In 1944, the 16-year-old became the first black woman to drive a streetcar in all of San Francisco.