Maya Angelou had an incredible life, and Wednesday’s Google Doodle celebrates it.

Angelou is now known as a world-famous author and poet who published seven autobiographies and several books of poetry, but her early life was traumatic. At the age of 7 she was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend. He was released from jail after one day. Four days later he was murdered, and Angelou became mute for five years. Later Angelou would say, “I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name.”

During this specific period of her life she became engrossed in the written word. She read Shakespeare, Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe and became interested in black artists like Frances Harper, Anne Spencer and Jessie Fauset.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, her best-known work, was crucial to the development of what many refer to as autobiographical fiction. Her work focused on issues such as racism and identity.

She passed away in May 28, 2014. Today would have been her 90th birthday.

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