Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys and others celebrate the prolific writer with a reading of her famed poem “Still I Rise.”
Prolific poet and writer Maya Angelou would’ve turned 90 on Wednesday.
To honor and celebrate the phenomenal woman who penned the powerful “Still I Rise,” Google has dedicated the day’s doodle on its search homepage to Angelou, who died in 2014 at age 86. The doodle is accompanied by an animated reading of “Still I Rise,” featuring the voices of celebrities she influenced, including Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, America Ferrera and Laverne Cox. Her only son, Guy Johnson, also lends his voice.
Wednesday also marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., a friend of the author’s. For more than 30 years, in lieu of celebrating her birthday, Angelou sent flowers to Coretta Scott King on April 4.
During her life, Angelou became a voice for black women, championing their strength and shining light on their narratives through her works. Her journey was especially remarkable for the trauma she overcame. Angelou was raped at age 7 by her mother’s boyfriend. That caused her to become mute for six years, and she began writing.
After becoming the first black streetcar conductor in San Fransisco and later working for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Angelou became the first black woman to write a bestselling nonfiction book with her memoir I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
Her work has earned Grammys, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an NAACP Image Award, and other honors.