Today we celebrate American author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Born in 1928, she became a writer 31 years later, after a variety of prior occupations, including cable car conductor (San Francisco’s first African American woman to do so), dancer, cast member of opera “Porgy and Bess”, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana. Spanning over 50 years, her writing career adds up to seven autobiographies, three volumes of essays, several books of poetry, as well as a list of plays and screenplays.
To honor one of the most influential voices of the past century, we have designed the Maya Angelou Timeline, which chronologically overviews her life and published autobiographies.
During her career as a journalist, Ms. Angelou took her activist role in earnest and became close friends with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, whom she supported in their civil rights endeavors. After Martin Luther King was murdered on her 40th birthday (1968), she experienced a severe depression which, however, was to fuel her spirit and creative genius. It was a year later that she published her first autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, which narrated her life up to the age of 17 and publicly addressed themes such as racism, family and identity. With the publication of this memoir, she challenged the common structure of this literary genre and gained international recognition and acclaim as an advocate of black culture.
She continued to write articles, short stories, poems, TV scripts and documentaries until her death in 2014 and served as a Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, despite having no bachelor’s degree.
The Maya Angelou chronology was created with Office Timeline, a simple to use PowerPoint plugin that quickly and efficiently generates professional-looking timelines, Gantt charts, project plans and other similar visuals. The slide is free to copy and share and can be edited or restyled using the free 14-day trial of the tool.
Download the Maya Angelou Timeline here.