Teacher Guide

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Lesson Plan

About the Author

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928.

She spent her childhood in California, Arkansas, and St. Louis, and lived with her paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, for most of her childhood years. At age 8, she was raped by her mother's boyfriend in St.Louis; this led to years of muteness for Maya, which she finally overcame through help from a caring neighbor, and a great love for literature.

At age 16, Maya became the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco; in later years, she became the first black woman screenwriter and director in Hollywood. In the 60's, she was a friend to both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X; she served in...

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