In honor of Black History Month, she is called America’s renaissance woman.

Author, poet, writer, civil rights activist, Dr. Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Her younger years were filled with turmoil, moving back and forth between her mother’s home in Missouri and grandmother’s home in Arkansas. She was raped at the age of eight, a traumatic event that caused her to go mute for nearly six years.

But Angelou rose above all of that.

In 1993, Angelou read “On the pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration, a poem written at his request.

She also bestowed the same honor at the inauguration of the first African American president, Barack Obama in 2009.

In 1972, she became the first African American women to be nominated a Pulitzer Prize. Her list of published verse, non-fiction and fiction now includes more than 30 best-selling titles, three Grammys and the Presidential Medal of Arts Award.

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”

Dr. Maya Angelou, today’s moment in Black history.