5 Things You Didn’t Know About Maya Angelou

While noted author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was very open about her life and experiences, over the years, she continued to inspire when sharing small unknown facts about her upbringing, including the real story behind her famed publication, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. For the five things you didn’t know about poet, author and activist Maya Angelou, hit the flip.

1. At 16, Angelou became the first black streetcar conductor in the city of San Francisco, California.

2. At the age of 15, Maya Angelou peaked at 6 feet tall.

3. When first approached to pen her own story after the death of her good friend Martin Luther King Jr., Angelou refused. Angelou was soon after approached by Robert Loomis, an editor at Random House, who dared her to work with him on her autobiography. Lo and behold, Angelou accepted the challenge and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings was born.

4. In 1993, Angelou was asked personally by the Clinton administration to write a poem for the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

5. In 1999, Angelou revealed that she was raped at the age of 7-years-old and did not speak until she was 13-years-old. Because the the man who raped her was murdered, she blamed herself and her voice for the crime. In a 2013 interview, Angelou spoke again on the matter, telling Oprah Winfrey that she had forgiven, but would never forget the man who violated her. Her strength to forgive inspired thousands.