Maya Angelou Continues Making History in Death

Courtesy of GPA Photo Archive (Flickr CC0)

Black story continues as Maya Angelou, acclaimed author and polite rights activist, becomes a initial Black lady to seem on a U.S. quarter. Throughout her lifetime, Angelou overcame extensive traumas, contributed severely to polite rights matters, and perceived many awards and accolades, yet being a first Black lady to be featured on U.S. banking is her biggest feat yet.

Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri on Apr 4, 1928, Angelou had a life that began in misunderstanding and disaster. At a immature age of three, her parents, who had a scattered marriage, divorced causing her and her hermit Bailey to be sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. While in Stamps, they gifted white leverage and were forced to conform a esteem to whites and secular taste imposed by law in southern states during that time.

Like many Blacks who suffered secular injustices, Angelou grown a low eremite faith and undertook a out-of-date African American approach of life. She credits her grandmother for instilling a rational and scrupulous impression that followed her all a days of her life. The values she schooled were mostly times deeply reflected in her communication and literary works, as she strongly believed in a energy and trait of a woman.

Being divided from their relatives meant that Angelou and her comparison hermit relied really heavily on any other and they grown a really tighten bond. He had a stumble and struggled with pronouncing her name so, with a assistance of a book he review about a Maya Indians, he gave her a nickname Maya.

At a age of seven, while visiting her mom in Chicago, she was intimately assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. This traumatizing eventuality left her feeling too ashamed to tell any of a adults in her life, so she confided in her usually crony — her brother. After confiding in him, her assailant was after killed by their uncle, and with a faith that her difference killed a man, Angelou became tongue-tied for over 5 years.

Courtesy of Urbanworld Film Festival (Flickr CC0)

Being tongue-tied did not final long, as Angelou began vocalization again during a age of 13 when she also attended “Mission High School and won a grant to investigate dance and play during San Francisco’s Labor School, where she was unprotected to a on-going ideals that charcterised her after domestic activism.”

While in high school, Angelou became profound with her son, Guy, and gave birth to him usually 3 weeks after graduating from high school.

Life as a singular mom was really difficult, as Angelou upheld herself and her son by operative as a waitress and cook, yet she never gave adult on her dance, music, performance, and elegant talents.

In 1952, she married a Greek soldier named Anastasios Angelopoulos, took on a form of his final name, joined with her childhood nickname, and became Maya Angelou. Even yet her matrimony did not last, Angelou kept her name and began her career as a nightclub singer.

Angelou’s behaving career flourished and she “toured Europe with a prolongation of a uncover Porgy and Bess in 1954 and 1955. She complicated complicated dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on radio accumulation shows, and available her initial record album, Calypso Lady, in 1957.”

Her innumerable of talents continued as she wrote strain lyrics and poems and eventually went to New York to join a Harlem Writers Guild. “The Harlem Writers Guild is dedicated to presenting a practice of people of a African Diaspora by a created word.” As a member, Angelou “took her place among a flourishing array of immature black writers and artists compared with a Civil Rights Movement.”

During a 1960s, Angelou and her son trafficked abroad where she “read and complicated voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and a West African denunciation Fanti.” She returned to a United States in 1964 with a goal of assisting Malcolm X build his new Organization of African American Unity. However, shortly after her arrival, Malcolm X was assassinated and his dreams died with him.

Courtesy of York College ISLGP (Flickr CC0)

Angelou continued in her efforts toward polite rights and she began operative closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who requested that she offer as Northern Coordinator for a Southern Christian Leadership Conference. After being ravaged by a assassination of Dr. King, Angelou, with a assistance of her dear crony writer James Baldwin, found condolence in essay and gave birth to “I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings.”

The book told a story of her childhood in Arkansas and highlighted personal strength amid childhood mishap and racism. It went on to be published in several languages and sole over a million copies worldwide while also being nominated for a National Book Award.

Seemingly overnight, Angelou became a outrageous prodigy and was in high direct as a teacher, lecturer, and in several domestic positions.

“Angelou was invited by unbroken Presidents of a United States to offer in several capacities. President Ford allocated her to a American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, and President Carter invited her to offer on a Presidential Commission for a International Year of a Woman. President Clinton requested that she harmonise a poem to review during his coronation in 1993. Angelou’s reading of her poem “On a Pulse of a Morning” was promote live around a world.”

Her many awards and achievements embody a Presidential Medal of a Arts in 2000 and a Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal in 2008. In 2011, a few years before her death, President Barack Obama awarded Angelou with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, that is a nation’s top municipal honor. Now, in 2022, 8 years after her death, Angelou continues to be honored.

“In 2021, a United States Mint announced that an design of Maya Angelou would seem on a retreat side of a new entertain in place of a prevalent eagle. The Maya Angelou 25-cent piece, along with one featuring wanderer Sally Ride, will be a initial in a array of coins honoring a achievements of American women.”

The new silver will “feature Angelou from a hips up, with her arms uplifted, a bird in flight, and a rising object behind her,” that is a ideal depiction of her communication and literary papers such as “Still we Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman.” This impossibly unusual lady deserves to be respected by carrying her design featured on U.S. currency, as it is not usually an painting of her conspicuous contributions to a brilliance of black history, yet it also serves as a plans that will hopefully inspire some-more Blacks, both men, and women, to collect adult a flame and keep a glow blazing for Black excellence.

Poems by Maya Angelou:

“Still we Rise”

You might write me down in history
With your bitter, disfigured lies,
You might trod me in a really dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness dissapoint you?
Why are we raid with gloom?
’Cause we travel like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my vital room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With a certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did we wish to see me broken?
Bowed conduct and lowered eyes?
Shoulders descending down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my conceit provoke you?
Don’t we take it awful hard
’Cause we giggle like I’ve got bullion mines
Diggin’ in my possess backyard.

You might glow me with your words,
You might cut me with your eyes,
You might kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness dissapoint you?
Does it come as a surprise
That we dance like I’ve got diamonds
At a assembly of my thighs?

Out of a huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s secure in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and flourishing we bear in a tide.

Leaving behind nights of apprehension and fear
I rise
Into a daylight that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing a gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am a dream and a wish of a slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

“Phenomenal Woman”

Pretty women consternation where my tip lies.
I’m not lovable or built to fit a conform model’s size
But when we start to tell them,
They consider I’m revelation lies.
I say,
It’s in a strech of my arms,
The camber of my hips,
The travel of my step,
The twist of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I travel into a room
Just as cold as we please,
And to a man,
The fellows mount or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they overflow around me,
A hive of sugar bees.
I say,
It’s a glow in my eyes,
And a peep of my teeth,
The pitch in my waist,
And a fun in my feet.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My middle mystery.
When we try to uncover them,
They contend they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in a arch of my back,
The object of my smile,
The float of my breasts,
The beauty of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now we understand
Just because my head’s not bowed.
I don’t scream or burst about
Or have to speak genuine loud.
When we see me passing,
It ought to make we proud.
I say,
It’s in a click of my heels,
The hook of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Written by Hyleia Kidd
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


Academy of Achievers: Maya Angelou: America’s Renaissance Woman
The Washington Post: Maya Angelou to turn a initial Black lady to seem on U.S. entertain as Treasury rollout begins; by Annabelle Timsit
National Women’s History Museum: Maya Angelou; by Dr. Kelly A. Spring; Updated by Mariana Brandman
Poetry Foundation: Still we Rise; by Maya Angelou
Poetry Foundation: Phenomenal Woman by: Maya Angelou

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of GPA Photo Archive’s Flickr – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Urbanworld Film Festival’s Flickr – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of York College ISLGP’s Flickr – Creative Commons License

Maya Angelou Continues Making History in Death combined by Hyleia Kidd on Jan 13, 2022
View all posts by Hyleia Kidd →