Maya Angelou has been an influential woman throughout her life; she left her mark in history and literature, and she celebrated the experience of being black in the US. The most breathtaking of all her achievements is the construction of her own personality. As she stated once, “my mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”. Remembering her, it is important to highlight her commitment with equality; it was a fight not only for her own life, for women and for Afro-American people, but also for peace and justice all over the world. Many people inspired Maya to write, taught her and influenced her writings and her life. She started writing her first book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, when she was around 40 years old. She was on tour around Europe when she met the writer James Baldwin in Paris, and he convinced Maya to write her autobiography, after hearing stories about her childhood. She returned back to the US in order to support Malcolm X’s initiative of the Organization of African American Unity, but shortly after her arrival Malcolm X was assassinated. After this tragedy, the assassination of her friend Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 was devastating for her, and this was the moment was when she started to write. …show more content…
Flowers established the basis for Maya’s appreciation of the poetic word, it was her mother Vivian Baxter who drove Angelou into womanhood and maturity. Angelou not only loved her mother's beauty but also loved the way her mother carried herself in society. Vivian Baxter taught Angelou values that were both feminine and strong. She guided her daughter through motherhood: a time that was crucial for Angelou when she was pregnant as an unwed mother. “My mother’s beauty literally assailed me. Her smile widened her mouth beyond her cheeks, beyond her years, and seemingly through the walls to the street outside.”(59) Her mother, she said, was her
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
Firstly, there are many interesting facts about maya Angelou. She actually had many jobs including singer,dancer,actress, composer, etc. Maya Angelou had a hard early life. Her brother even gave her the name maya. Maya Angelou also got many awards in her life.
In the autobiography I Know The Caged Bird Sings: Maya Angelou, the story begins in California where three year old Maya Angelou and her four year old brother leave they're father to go live with they're paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. They're grandmother runs a store there, which is the center of life in the Negro community of the town. Maya starts reading and enjoying literature while she is in Stamps, Shakespeare especially, along with other prominent black writers. Maya had many accomplishments in the 17 years recorded in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. One of Maya Angelou's accomplishments in her 17 years in the story I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is when she secured a job as a conductorette.
But before this could happen Malcolm X was assassinated before it could happen. Maya also worked closely with Dr. King, after his assassination Maya was devastated. To deal with the loss she turned to writing, she wrote her memoir I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings that was published in 1970 (Maya Angelou Biography -- Academy of
Although born in St. Louis, Angelou spent much of her childhood in the care of her paternal grandmother in rural Stamps, Arkansas.” When she was not yet eight years old.despite Maya Angelou being raped, mute and racial discriminated thorugh out her whole life still managed to become a successful woman in her life. Maya Angelou was an inspirational leader due to her challenging background, contribution
Maya Angelou began her writing career thanks to a number of influential people in her life, her experiences growing up in segregated Southern society, and her career as a political activist and journalist Of the many people who inspired Maya Angelou to write, a number of individuals stand out. One of these individuals was Angelou’s childhood neighbor and mentor, Mrs. Flowers. Early on in her life, Angelou was the victim of sexual assault by her mother’s boyfriend. The event left her with significant feelings of guilt, and as a result, she refused to speak for several years. It wasn’t until she was introduced to Mrs. Flowers that Angelou regained the confidence needed to speak again.
Angelou recited one of her poems at President Bill Clinton's inaugural. That was the first inaugural recitation since 1961. Martin Luther King Jr. was a close friend of Maya Angelou. On April 4, 1968 MLK Jr. was assassinated and Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday and sent flowers to MLK wife. In 1969, Angelou biography "I know why the caged bird sings" is the first best seller by an African- American woman.
After being convinced by her friend James Baldwin, who kept urging her to write about her devastating past and how she benefited from those experiences, she finally wrote the book which resulted to becoming one of her best autobiographical work. This book was also a very crucial part of how her fame came to be. Another one of her autobiographical work is, A Song Flung Up to Heaven, which is about her trip from Ghana back to the United States and how she was struggling to cope with the assassinations of her two close friends Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm
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. Born poor and black, she was a childhood victim of rape, shamed into silence. She was a young single mother who had to work at strip clubs for a living.
III. 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.
On example of this critique can be seen in Maya’s meeting with Mrs. Bertha Flowers. Angelou presents the older black woman as a direct opposite of young Maya, stressing that Mrs. Flowers rules both her words and body. “She had the grace of control to appear warm in the coldest weather, and on the Arkansas summer days it seemed she had a private breeze which swirled around, cooling her” (Angelou 77). Mrs. Flowers makes Maya proud to be black, and claims that she is more beautiful and “just as refined as whitefolks in movies and books” (Angelou 79). Although Maya begins to respect and admire the black female body, the white body still provide her standard for beauty, and Angelou pokes fun at the literary writing that whitens Maya’s view of Bertha Flowers and
The rhyme scheme emphasizes certain words that make Angelou’s message more clear; the comparisons in the figurative language give more specific details to the message; the syntax helps perpetuate the theme throughout the poem; and the diction develops the first half of the message. Each device Angelou used in this poem was for a particular purpose, which is one thing that makes it truly artistic. Moreover, Angelou’s exceptional use of literary devices to convey the theme exemplify her talent, style, and creativity in her writing. Her ability to write a poem on self-confidence and acceptance, even after the conflicts she faced in the past, goes on to show her strength as a human being in general. With the creativity and strength in spirit she possesses, Maya Angelou was certainly able to successfully convey her message to her audience: that each individual should find their self-worth, rise above their pasts and distaste others show toward them, look to a better future, and not let anyone or anything bring them
However, by raising Guy to be a good person she proves that a child doesn’t necessarily need a father to become a good person (Siphokazi 42). Maya Angelou’s impression of motherhood and marriage was also heavily influenced by her own mother, Vivian. When she saw her mother for the first time she thought she was absolutely beautiful. She also noticed how men were very attracted to her mother and that she was an amazing blues singer that drew people in (Siphokazi 39). This caused young Maya to see herself as less than her mother and caused her to strive to be the perfect housewife, beauty model, and very
Maya Angelou worked as a professor at Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from 1991 to 2014. As an African American women, one whose life was full of racial discrimination and gender inequality, she had plenty of experience and wisdom to share with her students. During her time working at the university, she taught a variety of humanities courses such as “World Poetry in Dramatic Performance,” “Race, Politics and Literature,” “African Culture and Impact on U.S.,” and “Race in the Southern Experience” (Wake Forest University,
She received two National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, in 2005 and 2009. (Biography.com Editors, 2017) In February (2003), she won a Grammy for the recorded reading of her most recent memoir, A Song Flung Up to Heaven. Her works have earned her more than 30 honorary degrees as well as nominations for a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. She wrote “On the Pulse of Morning” for the 1993 swearing-in of President Bill Clinton, becoming only the second poet in U. S. history—Robert Frost was the first, for John F. Kennedy— invited to compose an inaugural poem. She also delievered that poem on President Clintons inauguration.
A black woman growing up in the south is the paramount sign of racism and sexism due to the segregation and physical abuse by men. In order to challenge this prevailing ideal, Maya Angelou wrote I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings as a memoir of growing up black during the enforcement of the Jim Crow Laws, and to proclaim the rape she experienced. Therefore, Maya Angelou’s odyssey to find her identity not only impacted her life, but for feminism as well, challenging the underlying sexist and racist attitudes in America through confidence and wisdom. Undoubtedly, one of the most conspicuous things about Angelou was the way she portrays confidence as a dancer and singer at a nightclub.