2) Maya Angelou: Poet, author, autobiographer
Best known for:” I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” “Phenomenal Woman”, “Still I Rise”
Why we love her: The unofficial poet-laureate of black America, Angelou has delighted readers for decades with her tender prose and her fascinating autobiographies. The shake dancer-turned writer rolled with the likes of Stokely Carmichael, Abbey Lincoln and Malcolm X, delivered a poem at President Clinton’s 1992 Inauguration and has even popped up in a few films.
Notable quotable: “When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”