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Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou was a poet, writer, and civil rights activist. Throughout her life, she used the power of her voice to fight for the things she believed in. After a personal tragedy in her childhood, she didn’t SPEAK for five years. Between the ages of 8 and 13, she was completely mute. During this time she read every book she could get her hands on. This silent period in her life is what allowed her to realize her potential as a writer and poet. A family friend inspired her to SPEAK again, insisting that poetry must be read aloud to truly appreciate it.

Maya always believed in herself and knew she could do anything she set her mind to. Long before any of her poems were published, she became the first Black female cable car conductor at the age of 16. Maya was also a successful singer, dancer, and actress. She loved to travel and learned to SPEAK six languages. It wasn’t until she was 41 that her famous autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, was published. Her prose and poetry inspired people all over the world to treat one another with respect. Go check out her poem “Phenomenal Woman” for a serious dose of inspirational girl power.

“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud,” is one of Maya’s most famous quotes. She believed kindness could change the world. This quote SPEAKS to the power of caring for others even if we don’t see eye to eye. No matter where she was in her career, Maya was never afraid to SPEAK up for what she believed in.