By: Julia Martinez, Austin Kim-Hernandez & Caroline Henderson

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Digital Devil will be continuing to feature profiles on incredible women throughout history that have inspired the masses with their incredible journeys. The third woman to be featured is Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, poet, and civil rights activist, being most known for her unique and pioneering autobiographical writing style. She was the first black woman to ever be featured on the United States quarter; she also wrote one of the most well-known autobiographies of all time. 

Angleou was born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missou. Due to her parents’ tumultuous marriage and subsequent divorce, Angelou went to live with her paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas at an early age. 

Her older brother, Bailey, gave Angelou her nickname “Maya”. At the age of seven, she returned to her mother’s care but then she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. Angelou became mute for six years believing that her confession had a hand in the man’s death. Throughout her childhood she fell in love with writing essays, poetry, etc, memorizing and idolizing people like Shakespeare and Poe. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was an autobiography about Angelou’s whole childhood. It is a testament to the need for resilience in the face of discrimination. 

In 1950, Angelou joined a guild called Harlem Writers Guild, which was for nurturing and supporting the publication of Black Authors. Angelou also became active in the Civil Rights Movement and served as a northern coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

Angelou helped pave the way for upcoming black authors, bringing diversity to literature and theater; as well as providing powerful insights and perspectives. Everything she did was to get one step closer to her dream of the world, which was for universal peace. Because of her impact, we are now closer to that goal of hers.