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When Angelou, just 17, graduated from high school and gave birth to a son, Guy, she began to work as the first female and black street car conductor in San Francisco.
As she explained in she also "worked as a shake dancer in night clubs, fry cook in hamburger joints, dinner cook in a Creole restaurant and once had a job in a mechanic's shop, taking the paint off cars with my hands." Angelou married a white ex-sailor, Tosh Angelos, in 1950.
She was the first black woman to have a screenplay ( in 1995.
One source of Angelou's fame in the early 1990s was President Bill Clinton's invitation to write and read the first inaugural poem.
The founding editor of nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, a journal devoted to experimental work of the African Diaspora and other contested spaces, she has received fellowships from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Workshop, the Napa Valley Writers Conference, and Cave Canem, and she currently coordinates the Lunch Poems reading series at UC Berkeley., by focusing on some of the most exciting Black women writing today.Among her honors are the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal, Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, and F.Scott Fitzgerald Award., winner of the 1993 Washington Prize, reissued in a 20th anniversary second edition. When the man was murdered by her uncles for his crime, Angelou felt responsible, and stopped talking. Angelou graduated at the top of her eighth-grade class.