Maya Angelou was a strong African-American women who made an influential impact on the Civil Rights Movement, in bother her actions, and her literature. Her life experiences and courage helped others, and made her work influential. During Maya’s early life, she experienced many hardships that shaped her into the person many remember her as. Born on April 4, 1928, she only lived in St. Louis, MO for three years before her parents got divorced, and Maya, along with her mother and brother, moved in with her grandparents in Arkansas. At the age of eight, raped by her mother’s boyfriend, Maya learned the power that words possess.
In the 1930’s, America was still separated between white and black, even in sports. One man, Joe Louis, ended that by defeating a white man in the boxing ring. Angelou writes of listening to the fight on the radio, the crowd around her tense. The outcome of that fight would determine the future of her race.
1954 through 1955- Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera "Porgy and Bess." 1957- Recorded her first album, "Calypso Lady." 1958- Angelou moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild. She acted in Jean Genet’s Off-Broadway production, "The Blacks," and performed "Cabaret for Freedom."
Some of the awards that she has been nominated for and has even received include: Chubb Fellowship given by Yale University, Coretta Scott King Honor for African-American authors of books for young people, Tony Award Nomination for her role in Broadway play Look Away, Matrix Award given by New York Women in Communication, and many others. Besides creating many inspiring poems Angelou also wrote many books in her time. One of her most known books is a memoir about her childhood called I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
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.
“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.
Her life was not an easy one but she overcame adversity and created some of the most beautiful pieces of literature, as well as poetry, of the 20th century. Her works prove that you may come from a horrible background but you are able to become someone worth something in the eyes of society. Maya Angelou wanted equality for all and therefor fought alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in the Civil Right Movement of the 60’s.
Maya Angelou philosophy and teachings are timeless. There is a lesson to be learned in her more than 30 published works and her lessons taught as a professor and lecturer. More important she lived what she preached. She had a strong belief in humanity as a whole, in the human spirit and in the African American community. She fought tirelessly to change extinguish racism, prejudice and discrimination during a time when she herself as a black woman experienced its effects.
Maya Angelou was one of the most influential literary phenomenons, who created numerous inspiring works and paved the way for many African Americans, while facing discrimination and prejudices. She gave people hope through her countless works of literature and gave people an understanding to what it really feels like to be an African American. Throughout her life, Maya had a very traumatic childhood. Her parents, Vivian Baxter Johnson and Bailey Johnson, had gotten a divorce when she was 3 and she as well as her brother, were sent to live with her grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.
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,
Essentially Maya Angelou describes the most relevant decade of her life. Which, overall was full of ups and downs but most importantly success. "Maya Angelou Not Just a Poet, but Civil Rights Activist". The Clarion ledger. N.p., n.p. Web.
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. Where was
Life is a journey that is challenging for many people. As a result, many do not live up to their full potential. Nevertheless, there are always few distinguished people in every generation who master the art of living better than everyone else. Such individuals emerge as icons of the society and leave phenomenal legacies. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Maya Angelou are outstanding souls who made their communities and the world a better place.
Hailed as one of the immense voices of contemporary African American writing, Maya Angelou 's scholarly works have created basic and well known enthusiasm for part, since they portray her triumph over unimpressive social impediments, her battle, as a woman, to accomplish an identity and gain self-acknowledgment. Such themes tie Angelou 's writings closely to the concerns of the feminist literary movement. Dr Angelou has additionally been noted for her clear depictions of the strongest ladies throughout her life. Angelou’s one of the most inspiring poems Still I Rise will be one of the texts for analysis. The other three are as follows: