We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is Maya Lin?

By Bronwyn Harris
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

When she was only 21 years old, Maya Lin won the competition to design a Vietnam Veterans Memorial for Washington, D.C. Out of 1,400 designs by professional architects, designers, and artists, Lin's design was chosen, and she was still in college at the time. Amidst controversy and instant fame, she has continued on to design other memorials, buildings, sculptures, and furniture, always showing her creative and original side.

Maya Lin was born in 1959 in Athens, Ohio, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who met in the United States. Both parents were professors, her father a professor of ceramics, and her mother a professor of literature. A passion for art ran in Maya Lin's family, with her brother Tan becoming a poet and professor.

Lin decided to pursue an education in both art and architecture, combining the two fields along with history and the environment. While studying architecture at Yale University, Maya Lin and her classmates heard about the contest to design a memorial in honor of United States Vietnam Veterans. Maya decided that the memorial should not overwhelm the land allotted, but instead become part of it.

Maya Lin pictured a wall in a V-shape, made of polished black granite, listing the names of the 58,000 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War. She envisioned the names in chronological order, with the dates of the death or disappearance of each person listed along with their name. Maya Lin wanted the memorial to be both visual and tangible to be a reminder of those who were lost.

Instead of a political statement, Maya Lin simply wanted to create a memorial and reminder of an era and of 58,000 people lost. She did not want to create more controversy over the Vietnam war, as the United states had been deeply divided over the war, with veterans of the war experiencing taunts and sometimes violence when they returned home.

Some people were concerned about a young female student of Asian descent designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Others were concerned about Maya Lin's design, especially as it resembled a scar or deep gash in the earth. Lin stuck to her design, believing that it was important to include all names in order to show the depth of American losses. She also saw the design as being critical, symbolizing a wound that would heal but would always leave a scar in the nation's history.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was unveiled in Washington, D.C. in 1982, and is visited by millions each year. Maya Lin earned a master's degree in architecture, opened an art studio, and started a family. In 1989, she designed the Civil Rights Memorial in Alabama: a circle of black granite with the names of Americans killed in the Civil Rights movement along with important events of the era, covered by flowing water. Lin also designed the Langston Hughes Library in Tennessee and the Women's Table at Yale University.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.