Reading Maya Angelou’s writing, particularly her autobiographical book series, is an essential requirement when seeking a deeper understanding of the plight of Black women in America throughout the 20th century. As her most famous book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is especially important because of the wide range of topics it discusses – her experiences living in the American south during the Great Depression, to the sexual abuse she endured at a very young age. Angelou is considered the first Black woman to write unapologetically and explicitly about these experiences with clear conviction and purpose.
This is the core of much of her work, as evident in the imagery of the titular “caged bird”. She gave a voice to the voiceless, took everything she had suffered from, and used that to inspire a community of people and give them hope for the future.
Image Credit: KThoughCo.com