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Pullin 1Antionna Pullin Mr. SchamerAP Lit/CompFinal Draft14 March 2019The Inspiration Works of Maya Angelou“I will not allow my life to be minimized by anybody's racism or sexism or ageism.” An inspirational quote and phrase abided by the poet, civil rights activist, and award winning author,Maya Angelou. Angelou lived an active and strenuous life derived from the life experience she face from a young age. In 1928, Maya Angelou was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, to Bailey and Vivian Baxter Johnson. As a result of sexual abuse and the divorce of her parents at a young age, Angelou became aphasic for a majority of her childhood thus a love for language and writing took the place of such silence. After struggling throughout her teenage years, Angelou eventuallygraduated from school and soon gave birth to her first born, she turned to working various jobs until 1950 where Angelou would join the Harlems Writers Guide and begin her career as a poet and civil rights activist under the direct influence of James Baldwin and Martin Luther King Jr. (Poetry Foundation). By the 1960’s Angelou had a series of influential poems in the making including,I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Still I Rise, and Phenomenal Woman. Angelou connected to her audience through these poems on a broad scale via persuasive techniques including the use of symbolism, tone, and repetition, altogether introducing concepts of a male dominated society, strengthened activism for African American equality, and inspire others to fight against inequality and discrimination in America .Background/Analysis- I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsWhen I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings wasfirst published in 1969, it was met with
Pullin 2tremendous success. While the success derived from the majority African-American audience during the time of its first publication, the modern day audience can relate to many minority individuals who face discrimination in terms of sex, race/ethnicity, sexuality, etc. Unfortunately this piece of work received tremendous backlash concerning the censorship and graphic elementsalluded toward rape and sexual abuse, resulting in the prohibition of the poem to be discussed in modern day school environments. However, enthusiasts of the work see this setback as an illumination of the power literature and ones voice has (Random House). Discussion of important topics highlighted in the work offers a different perspective, thus reason for motivationand inspiration for activism against mis justice in the world. Aforementioned concepts were the purpose of Angelou’s writing and has led I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsto be one of the most influential poems of modern day literature.