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Interesting Facts About Maya Angelou

Thanks to her award-winning writing, Maya Angelou was internationally known decades before her death at age 86 in 2014. Despite her fame and her many memoirs, many interesting details about her life remain widely unknown to the public. Familiarize yourself with the life and work of Maya Angelou with this list of interesting facts about her life.

It’s uncertain how many times Angelou married, the New York Times reported in her obituary. “Throughout her life, she was cagey about the number of times she married — it appears to have been at least three — for fear, she said, of appearing frivolous,” the Times noted.

Although Angelou married a number of times, she bore just one child, a son named Guy Johnson. She gave birth to him at the age of 16. He was the product of a brief romance Angelou had with a neighborhood boy in Northern California.

During her young adulthood, Angelou became the first black woman to work as a streetcar conductor in San Francisco, according to the Times.

Although Angelou stood 6 feet tall, she managed to carve out a career as a dancer as a young woman. She even danced with the likes of Alvin Ailey.

Angelou rose to fame after the publication of her 1969 memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. That book made history, as it marked the first time an autobiography by an African-American woman became a best-seller in the United States.

Caged Bird was far from Angelou’s only memoir. The writer followed that effort up with Gather Together in My Name (1974), Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas (1976), The Heart of a Woman (1981), All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986) and A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002). Moreover, in 2013, Angelou’s memoir about her relationship with her mother, Mom & Me & Mom, debuted.

A globe trotter, Angelou spoke a number of languages, including French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic and the West African language Fanti, according to her website.

Angelou had a seafood allergy. Apparently, it was so severe that she requested people not to eat seafood prior