Today's Google Doodle (April 4) commemorates what would have been Dr. Maya Angelou's 90th birthday.

The beautiful cartoon depicts images accompanying the powerful words of Angelou's famous poem ' And Still I Rise', recited by a series of well-spoken voices. This is a deserved tribute to a woman who overcame much adversity and still managed to significantly contribute to the Civil Rights movement. Dr. Maya Angelou used words to craft the most wonderful, gripping poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Once again we are reminded of the gentle power of the word to encourage, inspire, and fight for justice.

Throughout her life, Dr. Maya Angelou touched many hearts through music, dance, poetry, and teaching. Today is a celebration of her bright light, a light that will continue to shine.

But let's begin by watching Dr. Angelou recite this wonderful poem.

This and countless other poems have earned Dr. Angelou numerous accolades while highlighting just how powerful poetry can be.

Maya Angelou - her life and work

Born on the 4 April 1928 in Missouri, Maya Angelou joined her brother to go and live in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas when her parents divorced shortly after her third birthday. There, she experienced a life marred by the racial discrimination which underpinned everyday life in the American South.

In later life, she credited her grandmother and extended family with inspiring her opinions and views on life. While on a visit to her mother, Maya was sexually abused by her mother's partner. As she was too ashamed to tell any adults, she confided in her brother Bailey instead. After finding out that her uncle had killed her attacker, she believed that her words had murdered a man and fell silent.

Maya did not speak until she was 13-years-old. At that time, Maya and Bailey moved to San Francisco to live with their mother.

Even though she was awarded a scholarship to study Music And Dance, Maya dropped out of high school and began to work as the first female cab conductor. Later, she returned to high school but dropped out when she became pregnant. After the birth of her child, Maya struggled as a single mom, working as a waitress and cook. During her time at high school, she was exposed to progressive ideas that would later shape her thoughts and political views. Despite struggling to make ends meet, Dr. Angelou didn't give up on her love of poetry, music, and dance.

In 1952, Dr. Maya Angelou married a Greek sailor and began singing professionally at nightclubs.

Her marriage ended, and she went on to study dance, working on TV and recording her first album.

Having written song lyrics for many years, Maya started developing her writing skills and became one of the black writers linked to the civil rights movement. After falling in love with a South African civil rights activist, Maya moved to Egypt with her son and her new partner. There, she became editor of The Arab Observer. Subsequently, Maya and her son moved to Ghana and joined a vibrant American African expat community.

Dr. Maya Angelou returned to the US in 1964 to join Malcolm X in his fight for civil rights. After his assassination, Maya continued her involvement in the civil rights movement and went on to work alongside Martin Luther King Jr.

Devastated by his death, Dr. Angelou found solace in writing and penned the highly acclaimed autobiography of her early years, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings'. This autobiography and her subsequent works earned her international recognition and numerous awards.

Maya Angelou's quotes continue to inspire

Renowned for crafting many powerful quotes, Dr. Angelou keeps instilling hope and her words will no doubt inspire people for years to come. Here is one of her gems:

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."