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Maya Angelou

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She speaks from experience when she says, “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”

From a hard-scrabble upbringing to being raped at the age of eight to creating a writing career while working to support herself and her son, to reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s inauguration, Maya has demonstrated the strength one needs to overcome defeatism. She relies on the power of words to move us, shattering and renewing her readers time after time. In addition to being one of our most acclaimed writers, she has excelled at acting, dancing, filmmaking and cooking.

She has received over 70 awards including Presidential Medal of Freedom, Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album, Quill Award for Poetry, Women in Film Crystal Award, Mother Teresa Award, Langston Hughes Medal, NAACP Spingarn Medal and been the recipient of nearly 40 honorary degrees.


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