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St. Louis names Maya Angelou's birthplace a landmark

Maya Angelou's birthplace, at 3130 Hickory St. in the Gate District.
| City of St. Louis
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A 127-year-old brick two-story in the Gate District is the city’s latest landmark.

The house at 3130 Hickory St. was the birthplace of author and activist Maya Angelou, who was born Marguerite Johnson in April 1928. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved the designation as a city landmark on Friday, limiting the alterations the owners can make to the property.

"This modest house in a once-segregated St. Louis neighborhood helps to convey the journey Ms. Angelou made to become a renowned author, poet, performer and outspoken civil rights activist, and although Ms. Angelou's life was spent in many places in the United States and abroad, the property comprises an important part of the history of one of the most prominent and respected women of her generation," reads the landmark designation legislation

Angelou’s varied career took her all across the world. She spent the last three decades of her life in North Carolina.

But two events that shaped her early life occurred in St. Louis — being raped by her mother’s boyfriend and his subsequent murder. She did not speak for five years after that incident, saying she believed her voice had caused the man’s death.

Angelou died in North Carolina in May 2014.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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