In 1928, Maya Angelou was born.
Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Johnson, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Angelou is considered one of the finest poets of her generation. In addition, she authored several books chronicling her youth and adolescence, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Read aloud Maya Angelou's poem On the Pulse of Morning, which she read at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993. Ask students what they can infer about the speaker of the poem and her feelings about America.
After the class has had a chance to brainstorm, share with students some biographical information about Angelou. Which events or aspects of her life are reflected in the poem? What pieces of information surprised them and why? Ask students to discuss how one's life and experiences can influence one's writing. Is there evidence of this in students' own writing?
From the National Women's Hall of Fame, this site honors Maya Angelou's achievements. There is a brief biographical sketch and related bibliography.
Biographical and bibliographical information can be found at this website, along with a few of Angelou's poems.
The Academy of Achievement offers a transcript and video clips of an extensive interview with Maya Angelou. The site also offers a biography of Angelou.
On this page from the My Hero Project, three contributors write about why Maya Angelou is important to them.