Schomburg Center Research Guide: Dr. Maya Angelou
by Alexsandra Mitchell, Reference Librarian and Archivist, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black CultureApril 4, 2017
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Dr. Maya Angelou
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has a long-standing history of and commitment to preserving and making accessible materials related to the black experience throughout the African Diaspora. We are continuing this commitment with the creation of research guides on various subjects related to our collection holdings.
Consummate poet, writer, journalist, actress, dancer, Dr. Maya Angelou, was born, Marguerite Annie Johnson, on April 4, 1928, to Bailey Johnson and Vivian Baxter Johnson. Dr. Angelou, began writing poetry as a child, and went on to have a wildly successful career as a journalist for a nationalist publication in Egypt, then in Ghana where she continued her work as a journalist and an administrator at the University of Ghana. Her six autobiographies, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, The Heart of a Woman, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, and A Song Flung Up to Heaven, and her memoir, Mom & Me & Mom, were best-sellers. Her work as a calypso singer, actress, and dancer, provided her with an opportunity to perform both nationally, and internationally, often, with her beloved son, Bailey Johnson, in toe. Dr. Angelou’s friendships with notable contemporaries such as, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Abbey Lincoln, Sonia Sanchez, Lena Horne, and countless others are represented in the Maya Angelou papers, as is her work as a professor at Wake Forest University. This guide will provide you with resources found here at The Schomburg Center, that speak to Dr. Angelou as a phenomenal woman and artist.