Maya Angelou (born 1928)
Novelist and poet, in 1970 the first volume Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings became the first non-fiction work by a Black woman to top national bestseller lists.
Her distinctive, highly politically-charged style has influenced a generation of authors; her work has furthermore encouraged many Black women into professional writing.
One of her poems, Still I Rise, begins:
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies You may tread me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise