Maya Angelou

by follers on May 28, 2014

Birth Name: Marguerite Ann Johnson

Date of Birth: April 4, 1928

Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri

Date of Death: May 28, 2014

Place of Death: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Ethnicity: African-American, likely 1/8th Irish

Maya Angelou was an American poet, actress, author, and civil rights activist. She was the daughter of Vivian Althea (Baxter) and Bailey J. Johnson. She was African-American, and likely had an Irish-born maternal great-grandfather.

Maya’s paternal grandparents were William Johnson (the son of Simon Johnson and Emaline Lankford) and Annie Taylor or Henderson (the daughter of Emanuel Taylor and Mary Kentucky Wafford). Mary Kentucky was the daughter of Wash Wofford and Ailsie.

Maya’s maternal grandparents were Thomas Baxter (the son of Addison Baxter and Jane) and Marguerite/Margaret Savin/Sabin/Seamus or Lee (the daughter of Mary Lee). Maya’s grandmother Marguerite is believed by some researchers to have been the biological daughter of John Savin, who was born in Ireland. Marguerite’s mother, Mary Lee, was African-American.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show African American Lives 2 (2008) stated that Maya’s genetic ancestry is:

*77% Sub-Saharan African
*23% European

In his 2009 book about the show, In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote that 55% of Maya’s African DNA came from West Africa, including the Mende people of Sierra Leone, the Mandinka people of Gambia/Senegal, the Balanta people of Guinea-Bissau, and the Fula people, and 45% of Maya’s African DNA came from the Congo-Angola region.

Sources: Genealogies of Maya Angelou –

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

GLXY March 23, 2016 at 4:32 am

CORRECTION: In his 2009 book based on the series, In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past., Henry Louis Gates wrote on page 37 more details about Maya Angelou’s african ancestry:

55 % came from West Africa including Mende (Sierra Leone), Mandinka (Gambia/Senegal), Balanta (Guinea-Bissau) and Fula people

45 % came from Congo-Angola region

fuzzybear44 May 29, 2014 at 5:19 am

To Dr. Maya Angelou,

Rest in peace

fuzzybear44 May 29, 2014 at 5:18 am

@ Follers

Thank you,saves me from having to look up everything myself.

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