Marguerite Annie Johnson Angelou (April 4, 1928 to May 28, 2014), known as Maya Angelou, was an American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. Angelou received several honors throughout her career, including two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, in 2005 and 2009.
Maya Angelou became the first black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco, California, in the 1940s.
Maya Angelou's 1969 autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman.
Maya Angelou is the first African-American woman to have her screenplay produced, for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia.
Maya Angelou was lauded in 1995 for her record-setting, two-year run on The New York Times' paperback nonfiction best-seller list.
Maya Angelou recited one of her poems at President Bill Clinton's 1993 inaugural ceremony marking the first inaugural recitation since 1961.