African-American literary icon Maya Angelou has been honoured by Google with a video doodle on the famous writer’s 90th posthumous birthday.
Doodles are changes made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.
Set to one of her popular poems, “Still I Rise,” the doodle features the voices of Angelou herself, Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Guy Johnson, Martina McBride, America Ferrera and Laverne Cox.
Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in 1928, her incredible story began with tragedy when a sexual assault at the age of seven rendered her mute for five years. During those years, however, books and poetry became her solace and constant companions, eventually helping her find her voice again to embark upon an intellectual and creative journey that defies description.
“In her teens and early adult life Angelou saw more experiences than many do in a lifetime: from motherhood, to 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,” Google says in a statement.
“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.”
The success of her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in 1969 brought her mainstream attention as an author. Six other autobiographical works followed, in addition to poetry, children’s literature, cookbooks and other non-fiction books.
Angelou redefined black beauty and celebrated African-American oral traditions. She advocated against war and campaigned for universal peace.
She was also the recipient of numerous honours during her lifetime. She became the first poet to make an inaugural recitation in three decades when Bill Clinton became President in 1992. Her vast impact on popular culture was also felt through a host of award nominations, public accolades, and more than 50 honorary degrees.