A Brief Biography of Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou born April 4, 1928 is an American author and poet. She was born with the name Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri. Her parents were Bailey Johnson, doorman and a navy dietitian and Vivian Johnson, a nurse and card dealer. When Angleou's older brother, Bailey Jr. was four and Angelou was 3 years old their mother and father's marriage ended and the children were sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. Even though it was during the Great Depression and World War II their grandmother prospered financially because of the general store she owned and because “she made wise and honest investments”. Without warning, Maya and Bailey Jr.'s father went to Stamps and returned the children to their mother in St. Louis at the age of eight. While living with her mother Angelou was sexually abused and raped by her mothers boyfriend. When Angelou told her brother he told the rest of their family and Freeman, Vivians' boyfriend was found guilty but was only jailed for one day. Freeman was murdered just four days after his release from jail. For almost five years Angelou refused to speak because she stated, “I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone...” Angelou and her brother were sent back to live with their grandmother shortly after Freeman's murder. Mrs. Bertha Flowers, a teacher, introduced Angelou to Charles Dickens, William

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