American memoirist, poet, essayist, and playwright. Born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Angelou attended public schools in Arkansas and California before studying music and dance. In her lifetime, she worked as a cook, streetcar conductor, singer, actress, dancer, teacher, and director, with her debut film
Down in the Delta (1998). Author of numerous volumes of poetry (her Complete Collected Poems was published in 1994) and ten plays (stage, screen, and television), Angelou may be best known for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), the first volume of her autobiography and one of the most influential accounts of the African American woman's experience in contemporary literature. Angelou published her seventh and final volume of autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom, in 2013. See also mayaangelou.com.