Dr. Maya Angelou was a poet, writer, playwright, social activist, and teacher. She was born on April 4, 1928, and grew up in rural Arkansas in the heart of the Jim Crow South. Much of her writing reflects her experiences as an African American woman in the United States.

Angelou published multiple volumes of her poetry, including I Shall Not Be Moved and Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diie, which earned her a Pulitzer Prize nomination. The first book of Angelou’s seven-volume autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, won the National Book Award in 1970. Angelou published the seventh installment of her autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom, in 2013.

In 1993, Angelou read one of her poems, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the inauguration of President Clinton. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, from President Obama in 2010. Angelou died on May 28, 2014, at the age of 86.

For more information, visit Maya Angelou’s Official Site.

An Interview With Maya Angelou

In this series of short videos, Angelou speaks about her legacy, writing poetry, her creative voice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and much more.

Books and Lesson Plans

Maya Angelou Book List A gathering of the writer's memoirs and poetry collections.

"Still I Rise" Lesson Plan from Teaching Tolerance Help students explore their resiliency and find their own voice with this middle and high school lesson plan based on Angelou's famous poem.

Spice Up Your Poetry With Figurative Language Use this lesson plan to introduce your students to poets like Maya Angelou as you teach them the basics of figurative language and rhythm in poetry.