Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

The inspiration for No More Human was derived from a Maya Angelou quote:

“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin - find some beautiful art and admire it, and realise that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.”

Angelou was a writer, poet and civil rights activist who died in 2014. Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in 1928, she wrote and published prolifically. This included seven autobiographies, numerous books of essays and poetry and lists of plays, films and television shows in a career spanning over half a century. In that half century she was awarded more than fifty honourary degrees and dozens of awards.

Probably best known for her series of seven autobiographies, these focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. Her early life was nothing if not eventful and varied – as was that of many female artists such as Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. After a whole range of experiences as a cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer – which included being a cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess - Angelou moved on to being a journalist in the Middle East and Africa.

As a prominent Civil Rights activist she worked with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Full recognition came when she recited her poem ‘On the Pulse of Morning’ at Bill Clinton’s inauguration, which made her the first poet to make a recitation since the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.

Angelou is now widely taught about in schools and universities throughout the world, although some attempts have been made to ban her books in some US libraries.

Three years after her death Angelou continues to inspire, not least the team at No More Human.