Discovering Tosh Angelos: An Insight into the Life of Maya Angelou’s Former Spouse

Posted by

Maya Angelou, one of the most renowned poets and authors in history, captivated the world with her powerful words and moving stories. However, her personal life was as tumultuous as it was intriguing. This article delves into some significant relationships in her life, particularly her marriage to Tosh Angelos, exploring his life and their time together.

Related posts

Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Johnson, was married three times. Her first husband, Enistasious ‘Tosh’ Angelos, of Greek descent, remains a somewhat enigmatic figure. Known to be a sailor, a struggling musician, and a former electrician, Tosh married Maya in 1951. The couple celebrated their union with a beautiful ceremony surrounded by friends and family. However, their interracial marriage was not without its challenges.

Despite the repeal of anti-miscegenation laws in California in 1948, the stigma and judgment faced by interracial couples like Maya and Tosh persisted. Maya’s mother disapproved of the union, adding to the strain on their relationship. Despite these challenges, the couple endeavored to make their marriage work.

Interestingly, Maya’s only son, Clyde “Guy” Johnson, was born before her marriage to Tosh. Maya had previously decided to test her sexual orientation and chose a prominent bachelor from her neighborhood, which led to her pregnancy. This period marked the beginning of Maya’s career as a dancer and singer, where she initially performed under her given name. However, upon being hired by The Purple Onion nightclub in San Francisco, she adopted the stage name Maya Angelou, inspired by her first husband.

While Maya honed her craft as a dancer and singer, Tosh Angelos worked various odd jobs to support their household. Maya’s dedication to her art led her to train with the famous Trinidadian dancer Pearl Primus in 1952. Despite their efforts, the couple’s relationship began to deteriorate. A significant factor in their separation was their differing religious beliefs. Maya, deeply religious, found it difficult to reconcile her faith with Tosh’s atheism. Their marriage ended in 1954, leaving Maya deeply pained.

After their divorce, Tosh Angelos continued his career in the military, but little else is known about his life. He passed away at the age of 53 and was buried in the Willamette Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile, Maya’s career flourished. She toured Europe with a production of Porgy and Bess in 1957, where she immersed herself in the languages and cultures of the countries she visited, becoming fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, and Arabic.

Maya’s love for Africa blossomed during this time, eventually leading her to live in Cairo with her second husband, Vusumzi Make, a South African freedom fighter. Although their marriage was never formalized, Maya and her son Guy lived with Make until their relationship ended in 1962. Maya’s career continued to thrive as she took on a role as an associate editor at The Arab Observer, later relocating to Accra, Ghana, for Guy’s education.

In 1965, Maya returned to New York, briefly resuming her performing career before transitioning to writing. She became a prominent figure in the civil rights movement, working closely with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Her first autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” published in 1969, brought her international acclaim.

Maya’s third marriage was to Paul du Feu, a Welsh carpenter and ex-husband of feminist writer Germaine Greer. Their union, much like her previous marriages, ended in divorce. Nevertheless, Maya’s professional achievements continued to grow. She became the first African American woman to have a screenplay produced, wrote compositions for renowned singers, and earned numerous awards and honorary degrees.

Despite her personal struggles, Maya Angelou’s resilience and determination remained unwavering. Her influence extended to individuals like Oprah Winfrey, whom she mentored and befriended. Maya’s legacy was further solidified when she became the first poet to speak at a presidential inauguration since 1961, delivering her poem at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

After her divorce from Paul, Maya continued her illustrious career, becoming a Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she lived until her passing in 2014. Her work inspired countless people around the world, and her legacy as a writer, performer, and activist endures.

Reflecting on her relationship with Tosh Angelos, it is evident that their time together had a profound impact on Maya’s life. Although their marriage did not last, Tosh’s influence was significant enough for Maya to keep his name as part of her stage persona. One of her notable quotes, “If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded,” perhaps hints at the lessons she learned during her time with Tosh.

Maya Angelou was a woman of immense talent and strength. Despite the challenges she faced in her personal life, she continually strove to better herself and help others. Her work touched the lives of many, and her spirit of resilience and compassion remains an inspiration to this day. Through her writing, performances, and activism, Maya Angelou’s legacy continues to inspire and uplift people around the world.

Share this:
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments