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Maya Angelou

Brigitte Lacombe, born 23 Dec 1950
Maya Angelou, 4 Apr 1928 - 28 May 2014
1987 (printed 2012)
Inkjet print
Image: 45.3 x 44.8 cm (17 13/16 x 17 5/8")
Sheet: 61.1 x 50.7 cm (24 1/16 x 19 15/16")
Mat: 81.3 × 66 cm (32 × 26")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Brigitte Lacombe
Object number
Maya Angelou: American\African American
Exhibition Label
Born St. Louis, Missouri
One of America’s most important writers and poets, Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson) wrote a series of seven autobiographical novels that are an indelible record of resistance and achievement by African Americans, particularly African American women. Angelou had a difficult and endangered childhood, shuttling back and forth between relatives in the North and South. She suffered from economic hardship and sexual abuse, which she documented in her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), and in subsequent volumes. Her subject was always her own life, and her autobiographies are not necessarily strictly factual or literally “true,” but rather a retelling of emotional truths. A politically engaged writer, Angelou was also a poet; she read her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
United States\New York\Kings\New York