When thinking of a historical figure, many imagine a president, king, or general that lead a country to greatness, but never realized some could be the ones who influence the minds of society. Although not thought of as anything, writers and poets hold the key to shaping the society’s mindset without even knowing it. Being a civil rights activist, social activist, and role model for women makes Maya Angelou a historical figure who has made a huge impact in American society and in American history.
“Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.” (Online - White House). This memorial statement, by Barack Obama in 2014, encompasses how many felt towards Maya Angelou, one of the most influential writers and voices of her generation. Over the course of her lifetime, Maya Angelou was awarded over 50 honorary degrees and received the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Angelou’s personal admiration and self-love that is reflected in her poetic works, specifically, “Phenomenal Woman,” is credited to the overcoming of her traumatic childhood and her work in activism.
Heroes in Medieval times were the men who fought wars to save their kingdom from the enemy. They were worshipped by their king, and received gifts such as treasure and land. Knights were said to be highest in rank, following after noblemen. Only a certain amount of men were ranked as knights because back then people believed in destiny. So many didn’t consider working up into a higher class. In present time, however, rules have changed. Heroes don’t have to be knights protecting their kingdom anymore. They can be activists, entertainers, authors, entrepreneurs, etc. It doesn’t matter their career, if they were to incorporate helping others it can show a great deal of heroism. Beowulf and Maya Angelou are both examples of heroes. Although they were born in different time periods, Beowulf and Maya Angelou
The leader I choose was Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou was an African American Civil Rights activist, Author, & poet who issued 7 autobiographies 3 essay books and various poetry books, and had done a number of plays. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928 and recently died on May 28, 2014. Some time during World War 2 Maya won a Scholarship to study acting and dance at the California Labor School, in San Francisco, California. At the time Maya became the first African American female cable car conductor(A job she had for a short amount of time). Other than that she was An author, poet , screenwriter, etc.
Once again, Maya Angelou manages to touch our hearts again with her poetic skills in Chapter 19 titled The Champion of the World in her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She recalls a time in her life where the African American community gathered at her grandmother's and uncle's store to hear a boxing match via radio. The boxing match was between the former champion Joe Louis and a white boxer. Maya Angelou takes the meaning of a simple boxing match into something more complex; she demonstrates the suffrage of her people fighting against oppression during that time period. She shows us that despite the injustices that may occur, there will always be victory for those who truly deserve it.
Freedom For All! Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt showed very similar objectives to a very similar cause. Both Paul and Catt wanted women’s suffrage, but both had a different point of view. Catt believed in a low-key strategy, but Paul believed in a more public protest ways. Catt showed that even a low-key strategy can prove to be more safe, and just as convincing as protesting was and probably even more. Catt overall shown that there are better ways to handle anything.
Angelou’s contribution to the Civil Rights Movement and her achievements as an activist were remarkable. While these achievements seem to be enough to last a lifetime, the Civil Rights Movement was only the beginning for Angelou. Angelou worked as an outspoken Civil Rights activist during the movement. But even after the Civil Rights Movement had ended, she continued to be a voice of humanity, speaking out against anything that harmed the human spirit. Angelou moved on to influence American society as a whole, from the 1970’s to the day she died, May 28, 2014. She was a multi-talented person as Toni Morrison, a friend and contemporary of Angelou, expressed: “She had 19 talents and used 10. And she was a real original.” (qtd, in Sherwell, 2014).
a. Maya Angelou was an avid writer, speaker, activist and teacher. As a result of the many hardships that she suffered while growing up as a poor black woman in the south she has used her own experiences as the subject matter of her written work. In doing this she effectively shows how she was able to overcome her personal obstacles. Her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970) tells the story of her life and how she overcame and moved forward triumphantly in spite of her circumstances. She asks her readers to rise above their defeats, to not allow anyone to stop their dreams. In demonstrating how she succeeded she has been a role model for women of all cultures and races. The “Phenomenal Women” poem is a celebration
The story Susan B. Anthony Dares to Vote and the life of Martin Luther Jr. can both be seen as representing the theme of overcoming obstacles. Both Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. were activists that "fought" for causes they strongly believed in. The actions they took to achieve their goal were more or less the same. However, Martin Luther King Jr. took a larger risk in pursuing his dreams compared to Susan B. Anthony.
Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou were African Americans alive during the period in American history when minority groups were fighting hard for their rights and respect among the country. These two authors used their writing skill to shed light on how African Americans felt throughout this period of time, opening many people’s eyes to how the oppressed truly felt. The civil rights movement could have had an entirely different outcome if it weren’t outspoken individuals such as these two.
During the 1900s, there were many famous authors who wrote about African Americans and Civil Rights. This was what was going on during this time period. Segregation and discrimination towards blacks was increasing. Two famous authors were Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. Langston Hughes wrote the poem “I, Too, Sing America.” Maya Angelou wrote the poem “Still, I rise.” These two poems both have their own meaning but are still similar in many ways.
“A Caged Bird” is a poem by Maya Angelou, that describes the struggle of a bird ascending from the restrictions with adverse surroundings. The poem renders the oppression that has affected African Americans over the years. As Angelou explains, the bird fights its imprisonment even with fear, but rises above with the stance of freedom. “Phenomenal Women” by Maya Angelou discusses beauty being in the eye of the beholder. You don’t have to have a perfect physique or focus entirely on outer beauty. Inner beauty has more definition, she explains that women should appreciate their flaws. After all there is only one of you and everyone was created differently.
Maya Angelou was primarily a very versatile and talented person. This woman of African American origin wrote and published seven autobiographies that were very popular and highly-evaluated in the US. However, she is well-known not only for being an author but also for being an actress, poet, dancer, and screenwriter. And of course we must not forget activism in the field of civil rights conducted by Maya. Being of African American origin and having a very difficult background full of discrimination and racial prejudice, Maya Angelou was then acting to protect and defend rights of other. All the set of activities she carried out just proves how important she was in terms of development of the America society.