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Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou is a celebrated, poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, film maker and civil rights activist. (Angelou 2)

Maya Angelou (Marguerite Ann Johnson) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to the parents, Father Bailey Johnson, and mother Vivian (Baxter) Johnson on April 4, 1928. Marguerite got the name Maya from her older brother Bailey. (Angelou 2) When Maya was only three years old and Bailey four years old their parent's marriage came to an end and they sent Maya and Bailey to Stamps, Arkansas to live with their grandmother Annie Henderson. Four years later Maya and Bailey's father came to Stamps, Arkansas to return them to their mother in St. Louis, Missouri. At age eight, Mr. Freeman Maya's mother's boyfriend raped her. "He said, "Just stay right here, Ritie, I ain't gonna hurt you". (Angelou 1) "Now, I didn't hurt you. Don't get scared. "He threw back the blankets and his "thing" stood up like a brown ear of corn. He took my hand and said, Feel it."(Angelou 1) Later she confessed to her brother Bailey and he told the rest of the family members and Freeman was put in jail for one day and after his fourth day of being released Maya's uncles kicked Freeman to death. (Angelou 2) Maya thought that since she told on Freeman her voice had killed him so Maya stopped talking for about five years. Once again Maya and Bailey were sent back their grandmother's house.

A woman named Mrs. Bertha Flowers helped Maya with talking again. Mrs. Bertha Flowers introduced many new authors to Maya such as: Dickens, Shakespeare, Poe, Douglas Johnson, and James Weldon Johnson, as well as Black female artists like Frances Harper, Anne Spencer, and Jessie Fauset. Maya wrote of her life and the many things she had seen through her years. Much had to do about discrimination and battles that African Americans have overcome through the years. Now because of Maya's thirst for more we women, we African American women, are a step further in the world. Maya also wrote about rights as blacks, and also rights as black women living in a cold world of a rainbow of colors. (Angelou 3) And this is said because the world is full people of different races and very different backgrounds. And this is where we get our cultural rainbow of colors that greatly enhance the world that we live in. (Angelou 3)

One thing that drives Angelou to write is the African American society.

Angelou's reflects aspects of her personal history. She finds pattern and order in the midst

of chaos of all levels, from her own life to the life of her community. She feels as if she

needs to write to the African Americans. Many of her poetry are all about the

black community.



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