Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou, RIP -- May 29, 2014

Many people who loved and admired Doctor Maya Angelou as a poet, a playwright, an author and a fighter for civil rights will not know that she was also the first female African American streetcar conductor in San Francisco.  When she was 16, she decided that she wanted to be a streetcar conductorette because of the cool uniforms.  During World War II, when there was a shortage of men, the San Francisco street railway companies started hiring women.  But they had not hired any African Americans.  The Market Street Railway would not let her apply, so at her mother's advice, she sat in an office all day every day for two weeks until someone asked her why she wanted the job.  "The uniform," she said. 

Her mother drove in her auto behind the streetcar every day, with a pistol on the seat next to her, until the sun came up. 

Doctor Angelou tells the story in an interview with Oprah Winfrey:

We're going to miss Maya Angelou. 

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