Here is a look at the life of Grammy-winning author and poet Maya Angelou.
Personal: Birth date: April 4, 1928
Birth place: St. Louis, Missouri
Birth name: Marguerite Annie Johnson
Father: Bailey Johnson, a doorman
Mother: Vivian (Baxter) Johnson, a nurse
Marriages: Paul de Feu (1973-1980, divorced); Tosh Angelos (1950-1952, divorced)
Children: Clyde "Guy" Johnson, 1944
Education: Attended California Labor School, 1942
Other Facts: Author, poet, actor, singer, songwriter, dancer, playwright, historian, director, civil rights activist and teacher.
Fluent in six languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and West African Fanti.
First African-American female member of the Directors Guild of America.
Studied dance with Pearl Primus in New York.
Won three Grammy awards.
Nominated for a Tony Award.
Timeline: 1931 - Her parents divorce and Angelou is sent, with her brother Bailey, to live with paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, in Stamps, Arkansas.
1935 - Angelou and brother Bailey move to St. Louis to live with their mother.
1936 - Is raped by her mother's boyfriend, Mr. Freeman. After Angelou confides about the rape to her brother and testifies at Freeman's trial, Freeman is found beaten to death, apparently at the hands of Angelou's uncles. Stops speaking in public for five years as a result of her guilt and belief that her words had caused Freeman's murder. This is the basis for her first autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."
1942 - While a high school student, studies drama and dance on scholarship at the California Labor School, a college for adults. Drops out to become San Francisco's first female African-American cable car conductor.
1950s - Nightclub performer at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, Mr. Kelly's in Chicago, and Blue Angel and Village Vanguard in New York.
1954-1955 - Tours Europe and Africa as Ruby in a State Department-sponsored production of "Porgy and Bess." Also, teaches modern dance in Italy and Israel.
1957 - Her only recorded album, "Miss Calypso," is released.
1960 - Writes, produces, directs and performs in a musical revue, "Cabaret for Freedom," to raise money for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Succeeds Bayard Rustin as the northern coordinator for the SCLC.
1961-1962 - Moves to Cairo, Egypt, and becomes associate editor of the Arab Observer.
1963-1966 - Moves to Ghana as an assistant administrator for the School of Music & Drama at the University of Ghana and also works as feature editor for the African Review.