“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson. At age eight she was raped and because of the trauma, was mute for the next five years. A teacher and family friend got her to speak again by introducing her to books by Shakespeare and Dickens.
Marguerite changed her name to Maya Angelou during her professional dancing career in San Francisco. After touring Europe in an opera production, she met writer John Oliver Killens who encouraged her to move to New York City in 1959.
Maya joined the Harlem Writers Guild and became an important voice for women and the black community.
In her 1969 autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Angelou writes, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”