Maya Angelou Speaks 5 Languages Without a College Degree, Plus More Facts

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The most unknown facts about global renaissance woman Maya Angelou. www.naturallymoi.com


Reported by Sommer P. 

Global renaissance woman Maya Angelou has redefined the meaning of what it means to be a Black woman and artistic writer in America. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Angelou has had the distinguished honor of performing her poem titled “On the Pulse of the Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.

Before she rose to fame as a poet, Angelou worked several careers to support she and her son. Below are five things you probably didn’t know about Maya Angelou:

  1. Although she is actively involved in academic institutions, she has never matriculated at a college. Maya has spoken at a number of college institutions throughout the world, but she’s never actually matriculated at a college institution. Of course, the absence of a college matriculation does not equate to an absence of intellect, as Maya has proven her intelligence in more ways than one.
  2. She was the first African-American female cable car conductor. Maya dropped out of school at the young age of 14 to become a cable car conductor, making her the first African-American female conductor. Little did she know — or maybe she did know — she’d become the first of many more things in her future. Many years later, she produced her own screenplay becoming the first African-American woman to do so.
  3. She worked as a waitress and a cook to support her son. After the birth of her son, Maya was forced to take on several odd end jobs to support she and her son. At one point and time she took on the jobs of a waitress and cook just to make ends meet. 
  4. She’s fluent in five languages. Once again proving that a formal education is not indicative of one’s ability to learn and exude intelligence, Maya studied many languages during her stay in foreign countries. As of a result of her international travels, she became fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and Fanti.
  5. Angelou has received over thirty honorary degrees. As previously noted, Maya spends quite a bit of her time at college institutions. She has been given more than 30 honorary degrees from colleges and universities all over the world.


  1. Mary

    March 17, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    It’s misleading to say that Ms. Angelou is a member of AKA and she doesn’t have a college degree and has never matriculated at a college or university. The more appropriate term is honorary member of AKA.

    • James Alexander

      March 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      @Mary, I beg your pardon, MS Angelou did not attend college.

    • R U Serious

      March 19, 2014 at 11:23 am

      @Mary: The more appropriate comment would’ve been one marveling Maya Angelou’s success instead of nitpicking about whether or not she’s an “honorary” AKA or just a an AKA. No matter what path she took, she’s a Soror. This is NOT a serious matter.


      An AKA

      • Ernesta L Williams

        May 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

        SKEEWEEE. Thank you my SISTER for setting some more than ignorant folk straight.
        However Soror Angelou got her ‘twenty pearls’ is ok by me. I proudly claim her as my Soror and acknowledge that she now an Ivy beyond the wall.
        She is forever and AKA.


        An AKA, WMU, Delta Chi 1969

  2. James Alexander

    March 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    @Mary, you don’t have to have a degree to be a member of a Sorority or Fraternity, all you have to do is attend college long enough to pledge and be accepted and that can be in your first or second year. Ms Angelou probably did attend college long enough to pledge and be accepted but didn’t graduate like many other people.

  3. Joe L.

    March 17, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    The educational system has put a road block on creative and God given talent, they do not make room for natural talent the system only give place to people that have helped them to make money and if they can’t make money they tell the employer that any one that do not have a degree will not make a good employee do not even allow them to fill out an application experience does not count unless you have the piece of paper you bought from the greedy system.

  4. Charlena Armstrong

    May 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    How brilliant this Black lady must have been. Whether she had a college degree or not is definitely not the ultimate question. She was smart, beautiful and brilliant. How I long for those natural talents that were God-given. Although it’s good to have a degree/paper with your name on it, what’s more important is to have that God-given talent she possessed. We will certainly miss her intellect in this world.

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    Superb brilliance. Thank you.

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    May 30, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    The fact that Dr. Angelou did not obtain a college degree in the traditional sense, proves her level of intellect and brilliance. What a phenomenal woman! Her life is a true testament of overcoming obstacles and winning. I will always love her and she will live on through her words and deeds.

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