Maya Angelou Research Paper

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Maya Angelou was an award winning poet and writer of our time. Many of us had the opportunity to hear her read and discuss many of her writings through television documentaries and shows. Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928; her birth name was Margurite Johnson. She lived in Harlem, New York and Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Schnall). Angelou was well traveled and worked and lived in Africa for a while as a freelance writer and editor. Angelou married Tosh Angelos in 19 50 and had one son (Poetry Foundation). She was featured in documentaries on civil rights, in movies produced by Tyler Perry where she always spoke about black heritage, and in interviews on the Oprah Show. Angelou wrote numerous collections of essays and poems.…show more content…
She worked for both Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X as a civil rights activist. She served on two presidential committees for President Gerald Ford in 1975 and President Jimmy Carter in 1977 (Biography-Maya Angelou). Years later in 2010, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest civilian honor in the United States by President Barack Obama (Poetry Foundation). Angelou’s interest and work in civil rights comes through in her writings. She began writing in 1968 after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. The themes in her writings are suffering by blacks, protest, and basic survival (Poetry Foundation). Her genre of writing is prose and…show more content…
Her audience is all people especially women and African Americans. Over time she wrote six autobiographies. Her most well-known autobiography is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings which is often read and taught in schools. In this book, she speaks of struggles, hard times, and abuse she received growing up. Another autobiography, Gather Together in My Name gives an account of her life from age seventeen until she becomes a mother. The next autobiography, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry like Christmas gives an account of her tour in Europe and Africa. The next autobiography, The Heart of a Woman is a description of her acting and writing when she lived in New York as well as her work in the civil rights movement. Her fifth autobiography, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes tells of her travels in West Africa and of her decision to return to America. Angelou’s sixth autobiography covers four years after returning from Ghana which she says she experienced many painful things (Poetry Foundation). In her poetry, Angelou writes about black beauty, strength of women, human spirit, social justice, criticism of the Vietnam War, and the lives of black people in America from slavery time to the 1960s (Poetry Foundation). Angelou’s poetry like her other writings focuses on topics such as overcoming hardships, love, relationships, racism, and struggles. Some of her better known poems

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