Maya Angelou has died. The list of jobs she held over the course of her life is astounding:
She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, cast-member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. Since 1982, she taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Since the 1990s she made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation sinceRobert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.
This is your open thread to discuss her life and body of work and SNL’s delightful, loving tribute to her, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Laughs”:
“Sister Maya! Was this an act of malice?”
“No, Brother West. It was an act of whimsy.”
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.