Maya Angelou – beginning Maya Angelou did many things in her life. She was famous for the books and poems that she wrote. She was also a dancer and acted in a movie. She wasn't a politician, but she worked in politics as an activist. What is an activist? An activist is a person who tries to make the world a better place by changing the laws. She was born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and died in 2014 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Many of her writings are about the lives and experiences of African Americans. Many people who are studying English as a foreign language like to read her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She didn't write this book for such students, but because the language is clear and not too difficult, many ESL students like to read it. This is an autobiography, which means it is the story of her own life. Although she wrote this book when she was about forty, it tells the story of her younger years. The book begins in the beginning and continues to the age of seventeen. She later wrote more autobiographical books. In fact, she wrote seven, and this is the first. When she was growing up, life often was hard and sad. Her family wasn't poor, but it also wasn't rich. Her biggest problem was family violence. She and her family often moved from city to city. For five years after the age of eight, she was not able to talk. She had many problems, but she was able to speak again, and she finished school. She became a mother at a very young age, just before she turned seventeen. During her youth, she became interested in books, and she learned that she could find power in them. She did many other things that happened after the time she wrote about in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She moved to New York and became a writer. In 1962, she moved to Africa and lived and worked in Accra, Ghana. She then moved back to the US and lived in Hawai'i. In the seventies, she wrote a movie, was in a TV show, and continued to write books and poetry. Many people have been inspired by the life and works of Maya Angelou.