- bbc news world
Charismatic and passionate, warm and intelligent, American author and poet Maya Angelou was a role model and activist who recorded and celebrated the experience of being black in America.
She was the first African-American woman to write a poem and reject Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration in that country in 1993—and will now be the first to be remembered with a coin.
The Treasury Department announced that it has minted 25-cent coins in Angelo’s honor, popularly known as quarter,
The US Mint plans to issue 20 more coins of that value over the next four years, representing other american women He played an important role in the history of the country.
a difficult childhood
Born in Missouri in 1928 and died in 2014, Angelou and her brother Bailey were sent as children to live with their grandmother in a town in Arkansas.
She thus lived for nearly a decade in one of the poorest regions of the United States and experienced racial segregation for the first time in the so-called Deep South: an experience she would explicitly relate to in the first volume of her autobiography. “I know why the caged bird sings”, published in 1970.
At the age of 7, during a trip to St. Louis, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. After telling the family, the man was arrested, tried and released from prison, although he was murdered shortly afterwards.
After that experience, she did not speak again for the next five years.
But, although she did not speak, she read aloud, making it easy for a friend of her grandmother’s, who convinced her passion for poetry to speak to her again, arguing that it To be fully enjoyed, the verses had to be said aloud.
Later, she moved to San Francisco again with her mother, where at the age of 15 she became the city’s first streetcar driver.
at the age of 16, gave birth to only son, a man, followed by a loveless one night stand largely in the spirit of questioning.
In no time she had embarked on an extraordinary career that included working as a dancer, waitress, prostitute and pimp. She became an actress and singer, recorded an album of calypso songs, appeared on Broadway, and toured Europe in a touring production of Porgy and Bess.
Along the way she obtained two or possibly three husbands (she was always a bit vague about the facts), and took her last name from the first of them, Anistasius Angelos, an aspiring Greek composer.
In 1961 he briefly served as Northern Coordinator of the Martin Luther King Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He then followed Wusumzi Make, a South African activist, to Cairo, where he became a journalist.
He later went to Ghana, where Black activist Malcolm X. met with, She returned to the United States in 1965 to work with him, but was assassinated shortly after. A few years later Martin Luther King was also assassinated.
Recalling his time with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, he later told the BBC, “I, along with many young people of the time, had become disillusioned, and we were angered and opposed to inequality.”
“But until the civil rights movement appeared, there was no clear way to protest inequalities,” he said.
This was when his friend, author James Baldwin, helped persuade him to write the first volume of his autobiography.
Text was a bestseller and Six more volumes followed throughout the decades.,
He also began publishing poetry, wrote a film script, wrote and hosted a 10-chapter television series on the blues and the African heritage of black Americans, and on the experience of slavery, on the groundbreaking television series Roots of Kunte Kinte’s African grandmother. played the part.
In the 1980s, she became an academic and professor of American studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, a prestigious white think tank.
By now, she was probably the most famous black writer in the world and one of the most famous black women in America.
Bill Clinton recognized his position when he asked her to read a poem entitled “On the Pulse of the Morning” at his inauguration in 1993.
In 2010, Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
He received dozens of honorary titles and wrote more than 30 best sellers.
The new quarter represents Angelo with open and outstretched arms. Behind him is a flying bird and a rising sun, “inspired by his poetry and symbolizing the way he lived,” the US Treasury Department said.
The obverse of the coin has a traditional statue of the country’s first president, George Washington.
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“Wannabe troublemaker. Pop culture fanatic. Zombie nerd. Lifelong bacon advocate. Alcohol enthusiast. Tv junkie.”