And the Job Well Done Award goes to: Maya Angelou
Yesterday the inspirational American author and poet, Maya Angelou passed away. She was born as Marguerite Ann Johnson in May 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri (in the United States). Maya had a tough childhood. When she was three years old, her parents divorced and she and her brother were sent to live with her grandmother in Arkansas. When she was eight years old, she was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend and after she revealed this to her family her attacker (Freeman) was killed (probably by her uncle).
The news of the murder shocked her into silence for the next 5 to 6 years because she believed that her words could kill someone else. During this time she only communicated by scribbling messages on a tablet she kept on her hip. She developed a cultivated love for writing and reading, working her way through almost all of the books in the school library and falling in love with poetry. In fact, at one point she had 75 Shakespearean sonnets memorized.
When she finally started speaking again, she focused her energy on dance and theatre. Her plans had to be put on hold when she was 16 though – she gave birth to her son, Guy. She eventually rekindled her stage career by the mid 1950’s she was touring around the world as part of a stage production, Porgy and Bess.
Her life story intertwined sadly with two of the US Civil Rights movement’s prominent figures: Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King. She met Malcolm X while she was teaching at the University of Ghana and returned with him to the US in 1964 to help establish the Organization of African American Unity – 1 year later he was assassinated. Soon after this, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. approached her to help co-ordinate the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and on the day she turned 40 (in 1968) a friend told her that Dr. King had been killed. This event devastated her so much; she stopped celebrating her birthday for many years afterwards.
Over the years Angelou authored more than 30 best sellers and established herself as a literary powerhouse. However, she became very popular because she had a knack for staying relevant over the decades. Maya never re-invented herself, but always found new ways to communicate with the world around her. She inspired millions of people around the world with her words and she will be missed.
Just reading the inspiring Maya Angelou quotes scattered between the paragraphs articles should inspire to do greater things and convince you why we’re awarding her the next Job Well Done Award on the Job Mail Blog today. RIP Maya Angelou, you will be missed and your words will keep on inspiring many generations.
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