Coming Soon!
Maya Angelou
A Life in American History
by F. Erik Brooks and Erin W. Gilliam
February 2024, 256pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7372-0
$68, £53, 60€, A94
Available for purchase 30 days prior to publication.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7373-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A thoughtful and timely biography of one of America’s most accomplished, famous, and influential Black artists.

Chronicles the life of one of America's most beloved and celebrated Black artists.

A prolific author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer, Maya Angelou was one of the most widely known and accomplished American artists of the 20th century. With seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and dozens of awards and accolades to her credit, Angelou’s contributions to American letters are as outstanding as they are peerless. With a venturesome spirit and an unwavering moral character, Angelou became a leading Black voice during the civil rights movement in the United States, lived and worked in Africa and Europe, wrote and performed for the stage and screen, and in 2011 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. This biography boldly covers many aspects of Angelou’s world, chronicling the successes and failures of an artistic pioneer who experienced tragedy as well as triumph during her long and remarkable life. A fascinating and phenomenal woman, Maya Angelou created an enduring legacy of artistry and meaningful social activism that continues to inspire millions of Americans and many more around the world.


  • Provides readers a comprehensive portrayal of Maya Angelou's life and times
  • Explores the importance of the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement in the United States
  • Examines major events in Angelou's life and explains how these events influenced her personally and professionally
  • Discusses how Angelou has shaped and continues to influence Black culture and American history
F. Erik Brooks is provost and vice president of academic affairs at Central State University in Wilberforce, OH.

Erin W. Gilliam is associate vice president for retention at Texas Southern University.

Black History Lives

This biography series explores the lives of the most iconic figures in African American history, with material that supports state standards while highlighting the subject’s significance in our contemporary world. Each volume includes a narrative of the life of each subject, a chapter on the subject’s larger cultural and historical significance, a chronology, a comprehensive bibliography, and sidebars that offer pertinent cultural connections to the worlds of social, political, intellectual, and popular culture. An appendix of primary document excerpts rounds out each volume. Readers of the Black History Lives series will gain a greater understanding of the outside events and influences that shaped each subject’s world, from familial relationships to political and cultural developments.


Series foreword Biographical narrative chapters Why X Matters chapter that explores the subject’s importance within the context of American history Timeline Bibliography Primary Source Documents “Cultural Connections” Sidebars Index
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