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“We may encounter many defeats, 

  but we must not be defeated.”

Dr. Maya Angelou

brutal betrayal of trust and remain alive and 

loving takes a certain depth of soul to do.
And she lived and loved without constraint. 

She was a high school drop out who became 

San Francisco’s first Black female cable car 

conductor. She went back and finished high 

school while pregnant; having her son shortly 

after graduation. She was a calypso singer 

and dancer in clubs and on stage (Maya 

Angelou started as her stage name). She 

lived in Africa for several years. Dr. Martin 

Luther King Jr. encouraged her to become 

a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King’s death on 

her birthday caused her to stop celebrating it for many years; 

instead she sent flowers and a poem to his widow every year.  

Maya’s list of awards from literary to musical to presidential 

are too many to list here.
Lastly, and quite appropriately, Maya’s favorite word was Joy. 

Her acts, words, and life will bring Joy to many for centuries 

to come.

Brown Bag Values salutes the life & impact  

of Maya Angelou!


t’s been said that Maya Angelou’s life  


was too rich and vibrant to be sum- 


marized, and that’s true. People will,  

in the future, dedicate much of their lives  

to studying and learning about her. She is 

the epitome of an American icon.
Dr. Maya Angelou (she had over 50 hon-

orary doctorates) was a celebrated poet, 

educator, producer, dancer, actress, civil 

rights activist, ambassador, trail blazer, 

and more. For simplicity’s sake let’s just 

say she was a poet... which is such a small 

word for someone so unimaginably gifted in that and more.
Poets are more than mind and body. Poetry is soul. Poets, 

like most artists, experience the world differently. They use 

perspective (their’s and others) to create empathy. Of her list 

of accomplishments, poet can be put before any of them. That 

gift of perspective weaves through all Maya ever was or did. 
Are poets born or made? As a young girl Maya was raped.  

The shock caused her to be mute for over five years. She once 

said that the period of silence allowed her to absorb her  

surroundings more intensely. To come back from such a