In the future Successes
Maya Angelou has written a number of autobiographies all through her career, including All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986) and A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002), but 1969’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is still considered to be her most popular autobiographical work. She has furthermore published several collections of poetry, including Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die (1971), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
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One of Angelou’s most well-known works is the poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she wrote specifically for and recited at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural ceremony in January 1993—marking the very first inaugural recitation since 1961, when Robert Frost delivered his poem “The Gift Outright” at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Angelou went on to win a Grammy Award (best spoken word album) for the audio version of the poem.
In 1995, Maya Angelou was lauded for remaining on The New York Times’ paperback nonfiction best-seller list for two years—the longest-running record in the chart’s history.
Searching for new creative challenges, Angelou created her directorial debut in 1998 with Down in the Delta, starring Alfre Woodard. She has also written several inspirational works, from the essay collection Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1994) to her advice for young women in Letter to My Daughter (2008). Interested in health, Angelou has even published cookbooks, including Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories With Recipes (2005) and Great Food, All Day Long (2010).
Angelou’s career has seen numerous accolades, such as the Chicago International Film Festival’s 1998 Audience Choice Award and a nod from the Acapulco Black Film Festival in 1999 for Down in the Delta; and two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, for her 2005 cookbook and 2008’s Letter to My Daughter.
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A Personal Lifestyle
Martin Luther King Jr., a close friend of Angelou’s, was assassinated on her birthday (April 5) in 1968. Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for a long time afterward, and sent flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, for more than 30 years, until Coretta’s death in 2006.
Angelou is good friends with TV personality Oprah Winfrey, who has organized several birthday celebrations for the award-winning author, including a week-long cruise for her 70th birthday in 1998.