Maya Angelou: The Success Of Maya Angelou

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The Success of Maya Angelou
Marguerite Annie Johnson, born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and died on May 28, 2014 at the soulful age of 86. Although we may know her as Maya Angelou, we can relate to her literary works in more ways than one. Her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. She received several honors throughout her career, including two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work category. She embodied the definition of a strong woman. Throughout her life, she continuously demonstrated that anything is possible by simply overcoming the struggles that could have consumed her. As a poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, producer,
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But it was also a time when people of color became discontent with living a lifestyle that was unequal to their Caucasian counterparts. During the next few years, there were countless movements that began to seek a change for the black community. From civil protests, to established organizations, African Americans reacted to the frustration they faced and how shamefully they were treated by others. The African American society dealt with years of slavery before the turn of the century; but even after the Emancipation Proclamation, they were still treated unfairly. Although decades after this time of inequality, on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in 2013, Maya Angelou said, “The myth is that all slaves were freed the day after President Lincoln signed it. The reality is that chattel slavery continued in the Southern states until the Union Army took hold, and in the Northern states until the end of the war.” Her poetry also echoes for the dignity of African Americans throughout her years of writing. In 1978, she wrote a poem called “Still I Rise”. Although this poem was written years after her admiration of poetry, the lines in this poem bleed out to our world the struggle that African Americans continued to endure simply because of the color of their skin. “Out of the huts of history 's shame/ I rise/ Up from a past that 's rooted in pain/ I rise” (lines 29-32). Her passion for the African American community showed through her poetry and she was undoubtedly awarded for the unparalleled achievements that better the lives of not only African American people, but also for people all over the world. The Spingarn Medal is awarded by the NAACP to call the attention of the American people to the existence of distinguished merit and achievement among Americans of African descent and to serve as a reward for such achievement.

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