My history hero: Maya Angelou (1928–2014)

"She lived at a time when black women weren't meant to have a voice. But Maya did have a voice and she used it in so many ways": Naga Munchetty tells Spencer Mizen why Maya Angelou is her history hero...

Maya Angelou was “the ultimate boundary-breaker”, says Naga Munchetty. (Photo by Craig Herndon/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

This article was first published in the September 2016 issue of BBC History Magazine 

The term ‘multi-talented’ barely seems to do Maya Angelou justice. She was an actress, screenwriter, dancer, musician, poet, author and leading civil rights activist, who campaigned alongside Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. She endured a traumatic childhood, and was raped as an eight-year-old. She related this incident in her 1969 memoir I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings, which became the first nonfiction bestseller by an African-American woman. Her position as one of America’s foremost cultural figures was confirmed when she recited her poem On the Pulse of Morning at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

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