Maya Angelou: Her Life and Times

Acclaimed American poet, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou launched herself from a life of hardship into the country's consciousness with her famed autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in 1970.

26 photos
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Dr. Maya Angelou speaks on race relations at Congregation B�nai Israel and Ebenezer Baptist Church on January 16, 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida.(Photo by Jeff Daly/Invision/AP)
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Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., right, and poet Maya Angelou, left, embrace after speaking during a campaign stop at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, April 18, 2008. Angelou died on May 28, 2014, at the age of 86.
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Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou speak during the BET Honors 2012 at the Warner Theatre on January 14, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
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Cicely Tyson, Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey pose for a photo backstage at Maya Angelou's portrait unveiling at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
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This file photo shows Maya Angelou who had been hired as Hollywood's first black woman movie director, Nov. 3, 1971. She wrote the script and music, as well as directed "Caged Bird," which is based on her best-selling 1969 autobiography. Angelou was a professional singer, dancer, writer, composer, poet, lecturer, editor, and San Francisco streetcar conductor.
Jeff Daly/Invision/AP
Maya Angelou speaks on race relations at Congregation B'nai Israel and Ebenezer Baptist Church on Jan. 16, 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida.
President Barack Obama kisses author and poet Maya Angelou after awarding her the 2010 Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011.
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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (L) and Honoree/Dr. Maya Angelou onstage at the The 2009 Women of the Year hosted by Glamour Magazine at Carnegie Hall on November 9, 2009 in New York City.
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Tony Bennett and Maya Angelou attend the Norman Mailer Center's fifth annual benefit gala at the New York Public Library on Oct. 17, 2013 in New York City.
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Maya Angelou answers questions at her portrait unveiling at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
Maya Angelou, left, and Oprah Winfrey share laughs during a star-studded double-taping of "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," Tuesday, May 17, 2011, in Chicago.
In this May 20, 2010 file photo, poet and author Maya Angelou smiles at a garden party at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. Angelou's latest book, memoir "Mom & Me & Mom," is a sweet ode to "Lady," her mother Vivian Baxter, and "Momma," her paternal grandmother Annie Henderson.
Glenn Marshall
Hip hop performer Common, right, and Maya Angelou.
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Poet Maya Angelou attends the funeral service for civil rights leader Dorothy Height at the Washington National Cathedral April 29, 2010, in Washington, D.C. Height led the National Council of Negro Women and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Martha Stewart Show
In this photo released by "The Martha Stewart Show," host Martha Stewart, left, poses with Dr. Maya Angelou on the set of "The Martha Stewart Show," in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. Stewart presented Angelou with the Martha Stewart Living Legend Award during the telecast.
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Poet and activist Maya Angelou Tuesday, July 27, 2004, speaks on stage at the FleetCenter in Boston during the Democratic National Convention.
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Gayle King and Maya Angelou talk at the Abyssian Development Corporation's tenth annual Harlem Renaissance Day of Commitment, June 15, 2004, in New York City.
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Maya Angelou sautes some onions and peppers in the kitchen of the Sugar Bar restaurant Monday, Sept. 29, 1997, in New York, where she spent the day cooking a meal as a guest chef for a benefit dinner later in the evening. Proceeds from the five course dinner she prepared were to be donated to the Betty Shabazz Foundation.
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Author Maya Angelou admires a blow-up of a Ghana postage stamp in her honor during a ceremony in Washington Thursday Nov. 13,1997. Twelve Black authors were honored on stamps from Ghana and Uganda to promote World Literacy. The stamps were designed by Gary Aagaard of Seattle.
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Coretta Scott King, left, widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and poet Maya Angelou leave New York's Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx section of New York on Monday, June 2, 1997, after they prayed at Betty Shabazz's bedside. Betty Shabazz was in critical condition with third degree burns over 80 percent of her body after being injured Sunday in an early morning fire in her Yonkers apartment.
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Maya Angelou laughs when she hears a familiar anecdote about her friend Jessica Mitford, during a memorial celebration Monday, July 29, 1996 in San Francisco.
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Maya Angelou, left, and Spelman College President Johnetta Coleman pose before Angelou is honored at the Eighth annual Black History Makers Awards dinner in New York City, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 1994.
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Newly sworn-in U.S. President Bill Clinton reaches out to hug poet Maya Angelou after she delivered her inaugural poem on the west steps of the Capitol during inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 1993.
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Maya Angelou, shown in this 1992 file photo.
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Maya Angelou
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy shown with three of this year's six women in the field of communications who received the thirteenth annual Matrix Award from the New York Chapter of Women in Communications, Inc. in New York on Monday, April 11, 1983. From left, the winners are: Jane Bryant Quinn, contributing editor, Newsweek and Woman's Day; Maya Angelou, author; and Mary McGrory, syndicated columnist, The Washington Post.
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