Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from American National Biography. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 07 March 2021

Angelou, Mayafree

(4 Apr. 1928–28 May 2014)
  • Jacqueline S. Thursby


Angelou, Maya (4 Apr. 1928–28 May 2014), writer, performer, and activist, was born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, the second child of Bailey Johnson, Sr., a doorman and Navy dietitian, and Vivian Baxter, a registered nurse, cocktail hostess, and Merchant Marine. Her brother, Bailey, Jr., nicknamed her Maya, and the name stuck. After their parents’ divorce, the two young children were sent alone on a train from San Francisco to Stamps, Arkansas, to be met and raised by their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, and their father’s brother, Uncle Willie, who was disabled. Grandmother Henderson had managed to build and own a general store with living quarters in the back, and it was also a safe black community gathering place in the segregated town. Uncle Willie provided a steady stream of good reading and high scholastic expectations, and their grandmother, “Momma,” taught them no-nonsense life skills, took them to church, and loved them....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription