Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an African-American author, poet, dancer, singer, actress and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry and was credited with a list of plays, movies and television shows spanning more than 50 years. She received dozens of awards and over fifty honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen and brought her international recognition and acclaim.