Maya Angelou

by Felicia from Marietta

Maya Angelou is an accomplished writer, actress, and poet.  Just a few of her professional accomplishments include writing a set of autobiographical novels, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, and Singing and Swinging and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas.  Maya Angelou has also starred in several movies like Down in the Delta, Poetic Justice, and a documentary called "The Black Candle".  One of my favorite of Maya Angelou's works is a poem, On the Pulse, which she wrote for former President Bill Clinton's inauguration.  In her poem, Maya Angelou spoke about people having a sense of diversity.  She stressed that no matter what we look like, what our job is, how rich or poor we are, or how strange we may appear to each other, we must respect each other's differences and strive for equality in our nation.  Maya's poetry and writing has made a major contribution to our society.


Maya Angelou ( (Georgia Public Broadcasting))
Maya Angelou (Georgia Public Broadcasting))

Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, MO.  At the age of three, she and her brother were sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.  Maya grew up in the Deep South during a time when racial segregation, discrimination, and the belittlement of women, especially black women, were rampant.  While Maya experienced many hardships as a result of her environment, these encounters only served to make her stronger.  One of the most traumatic experiences in Maya Angelou's life was when she was  raped by one of her mother's tenants at the age of eight years old.  This tragedy affected Maya so deeply, that she refused to speak to anyone, except her brother, Bailey, for several years.

Throughout Maya's young life, she struggled to find a sense of self-worth despite not being considered important or beautiful.  I made a connection with her, as I read her autobiographical series, because like Maya, I grew up in a time and place where if you were a dark-skinned, black girl, you weren't considered pretty.  No one who knows me would guess that I ever had an issue with the way I looked, but that is one of the greatest lessons that I learned from Maya Angelou.  She taught me to believe in myself, to love myself, and to view myself as priceless. 

Maya Angelou is my hero because she is a strong, black woman who makes her destiny.  She never let anyone tell her what she couldn't do in life.  If an obstacle was put in her way, sometimes she went around it, but other times she demolished it!  Maya Angelou has always been dignified, intelligent, and resilient.  As a child, I knew that Maya Angelou represented the type of woman that I wanted to become.

Page created on 5/15/2012 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/2/2024 7:02:49 PM

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