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Set to her poem “Still I Rise,” the Doodle includes her own voice along with the voices of other individuals like Guy Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Laverne Cox, Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, and Martina McBride whose lives she has inspired, and who aspire to live by her legacy today.
Alicia Keys described Maya as a “renaissance woman of all types” while Laverne Cox described her as a national treasure the world should always celebrate.”
14-time Grammy nominee McBride also honored Maya saying that she inspired her to write her own songs. Winfrey, who has called Angelou a mentor, says that “Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she did it all.”
Her poem “Still I Rise” is about resilience and strength with the words: “You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
In a life rich with experiences and stories, author, poet, memoirist, and activist Dr. Maya Angelou touched the lives of millions around the globe through her teachings, her writings, her voice, and her actions.
Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in 1928, her incredible story began with tragedy when a sexual assault at the age of seven rendered her mute for five years. During those years, however, books and poetry became her solace and constant companions, eventually helping her find her voice again to embark upon an intellectual and creative journey that defies description.
In her her teens and early adult life Dr. Angelou saw more experiences than many do in a lifetime: from motherhood, to becoming San Francisco’s first female and black streetcar conductor, to touring the world as a cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess all while mastering several languages.
She sang and danced in professional cabarets, worked as a journalist in Africa, and became one of the most prominent civil rights activists of her generation.
The success of her first book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” in 1969 brought her mainstream attention as an author. Six other autobiographical works followed, in addition to poetry, children’s literature, and non-fiction even cookbooks!
Through her works, Dr. Angelou gave a voice to millions. She championed women’s rights and gender equality. She redefined black beauty and celebrated African-American oral traditions. She advocated against war and campaigned for universal peace.
She was also the recipient of numerous honors during her lifetime. She became the first poet to make an inaugural recitation in three decades when Bill Clinton became President in 1992. Her vast impact on popular culture was also felt through a host of award nominations, public accolades, and more than 50 honorary degrees.
She is the author of over 30 books. She died on 28 May, 2014 aged 86.