Maya Lin was born in Athens, Ohio, on October 5, 1959, of Chinese lineage. Maya attended Yale University and graduated in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in architecture and sculpture. During her senior year, she entered a contest for the design of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. Her design was chosen and accepted, winning the contest.
Maya's design turned into the polished, black granite wall with the names of over 58,000 individuals who were missing in action or killed in Vietnam. The memorial now sits in Washington D.C. It was dedicated in 1982 on Veteran's Day, and is known to many as "the Wall."
Maya attended graduate school at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She left the college, however, in 1983 to work as a Boston architect. She completed her Masters at Yale University in 1986.
In 1988, Maya designed a monument for the Civil Rights Movement for the Southern Poverty Law Center. It consisted of a curved wall of black granite with a quotation by Martin Luther King, Jr., a 12-foot disk with the events and dates of important times in the history of the civil rights movement, and the names of the 40 people who were devoted to that movement. Added to this memorial is a torrent of water that is always flowing over the monument. This memorial was dedicated in November 1989 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Maya's other architectural designs include: a park in Charlotte, North Carolina, called Topo, a sculpture devoted to Yale University's education of both men and women, called the Women's Table, and a mass of 43 tons of flass pebbles in Columbus, Ohio, at the Wexner Center for the Arts, called Groundswell.
A film called Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision was created in 1995 and won the Oscar for best documentary in 1995. To this date, Maya is still living and making a difference in our world.