April is celebrated as National Poetry Month in the United States, which is appropriate given how Dr. Maya Angelou, who’s arguably best remembered for her writing, was born on April 4, 1928. She passed away on May 28, 2014, but Google is honoring her today on what would’ve been her ninetieth birthday with a Google Doodle.

GOOGLE DOODLE HONORS DR. MAYA ANGELOU

The Doodle is an animation that spans roughly two minutes. It recites what is perhaps Angelou’s most famous poem, “Still I Rise,” with a recorded clip of Angelou’s voice overlaying the opening verse. Afterwards, voiceovers of several famous stars — including Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, Martina McBride and Oprah Winfrey — continue the poem, conveying the strength and determination of the woman who wrote it. Guy Johnson, Angelou’s son, also recited a portion of the poem, and Google was happy to work with him and his wife, Stephanie Floyd-Johnson, in bringing this project to life.

 

Winfrey harbors a deep admiration for the figure she helped celebrate, saying, “Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she did it all.  She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence, and a fiery, fierce grace and abounding love.” Many of the other guests echoed similar sentiments regarding Angelou, with Keys expressing, “She is brilliant…I am honored to be able to say her words.”

Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou was an incredibly accomplished woman, with a legacy spanning literature, political activism and much, much more. Angelou’s first book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” was published in 1969, and its success lead to “six other autobiographical works” as well as “poetry, children’s literature, and non-fiction (even cookbooks!).”

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Aside from being an accomplished author, Angelou – who was born as Marguerite Annie Johnson before creating her pen name – achieved a lot, from “becoming San Francisco’s first female and black streetcar conductor, to touring the world as a cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess — all while mastering several languages. She sang and danced in professional cabarets, worked as a journalist in Africa, and became one of the most prominent civil rights activists of her generation.” Needless to say, Angelou’s story is a fascinating one, and her legacy will continue to inspire.