6 Major Accomplishments of Maya Angelou

6 Major Accomplishments of Maya Angelou


There are some figures in literary history that become beloved and celebrated in a way that makes their writings even more powerful. Maya Angelou is one of these few writers. She was an author and a poet that was also simultaneously one of the most important African Americans due to her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Her work was popular back in the 1950’s and 1960’s when it was first written, but it is still popular today. She has a number of literary works on her resume and is celebrated not only for the words that she wrote, but also for the power that these words had on others. It is important that you learn about the top major accomplishments of Maya Angelou.

A Caged Bird

If there is one book that Maya Angelou is known for above all others, it is A Caged Bird. This was the first volume that was part of a collection known as her autobiography series. I Know Why the Caged Birds Sings is by far the most popular volume and is what made her entire autobiography series so notable. This is the volume that Maya spent writing about her first 17 years and all the things that she endured as a young child through her later teens. Her Writing is so touching and moving because it is so personal.

In this volume, Maya actually writes about things like sexual abuse and violence that she endured. Angelou also makes it a point in this volume to focus on the racism that she experienced in her youth and how that shaped her. This is a writing that is seen as so powerful that it is one of the most popular required reads in many schools. I Know why the Caged Bird Sings is a part of literary history that will live on forever. It is a classic and Maya Angelou is recognized as an accomplished writer for this piece.


Not only is Maya Angelou known for her literary work known as her autobiography, but she was also a very accomplished poet. She had many poems that seemed to strike a cord with others, but it was her poem entitled Yet Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water Before I Die that is known as a classic. This was a poem that was actually nominated for a Pulitzer prize in 1971. Her collection of poems contains about 38 poems that happen to have been published after the success of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Her poems are very personal, which is a theme of Angelou’s writing. She writes about things that she knows, which primarily entails being black and being a female. A lot can be learned about history by taking a closer look at her writings from this time period.

Screen Play

It seems like Maya Angelou took her writing talents and used them in a number of different ways. Not only did she wrote poems and books, but she also wrote her own screenplay. Maya Angelou is recognized as being the first African American female to have a screen play produced. This means that she actually helped to break down barriers that existed. She even acted in a role that garnered her an Emmy nomination. Maya Angelou was not afraid to try something different and often succeeded when she stepped outside the box.


During the inauguration of President Clinton, Maya Angelou was the one that read the poem during the ceremony. This was a huge honor and made her one of the first African American females to participate in an inauguration of a president.

Inspiring Words

Even though Maya Angelou passed away, it is her words that are her biggest contribution and what continue to live on. She is famous for her quotes that are still popular. Many of her words have been taken from her writings and have been turned into inspirational quotes. It is hard to go without hearing wise words that come from the mind of Maya Angelou. One of her most famous quotes is on the topic of defeat and is known for inspiring people to continue fighting through whatever challenges they may face. Jest because you have a defeat does not mean that you are defeated. Her wise words are ultimately one of her greatest gifts.

Fight for Civil Rights

Maya was a big promoter of the Civil Rights Movement and is one of the few women that was incredibly active in this movement. She was someone that stood up for the rights of others and fought for equality at all costs. When you read her words, you can see how passionate she was about bringing us closer to equality. She is known for being a major player in the Civil Rights movement.