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Maya Angelou Research Papers

Papers on Maya Angelou can cover her life story, her works of fiction, or her poetry. This dynamic woman may be studied in a number of ways. Have the writers at Paper Masters creatively put together research on Angelou or any of her great works of literature.

Maya Angelou is a poet, historian, author, actress, playwright, civil rights activist and a publisher and director. She has many, many roles, a few of which are outlined here:

  • Maya Angelou lectures throughout the United States and abroad. Maya Angelou
  • Angelou is the Reynolds professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
  • Angelou has published ten best-selling books and countless magazine articles.
  • At the request of President Clinton, she wrote and delivered a poem in the 1993 presidential inaugural event.

Dr. Angelou began her career in drama and dance. She married a South African freedom fighter and lived in Cairo where she was the editor of the Arab Observer, the only English-language speaking new weekly in the Middle East. In Ghana she was feature editor of the African Review and taught at the University of Ghana. In the 1960’s at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King, she took a position as the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She was then appointed by President Gerald Ford to the Bicentennial Commission and by President Jimmy Carter to the National Commission in the Observance of International Women’s Year. All of this came from that little girl described in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Through this book, the first of several auto-biographical writings. I learned about a little girl who was proud, a little girl who was wiser than almost anyone acknowledged, and a little girl who was fair and expected the rest of the world to act the same way.

In Caged Bird, Maya spends most of her time with her grandmother, Annie Henderson, whom she immediately calls “mamma”. Mamma taught Maya’s sweet young heart a lesson or two about living respectfully and being respected. The incident in chapter one, which recounts the three little white girls came to Mamma’s store to make fun of Mamma and to see and hear the child they had begun hearing about. Maya had raked the leaves into a design when the girls came into the grocery store’s yard, if it could be called that.

Maya was an innately fair child who knew the difference between what was right and what was expedient. For African American girls growing up there in the 1950’s and 60’s there was a code of conduct which had to be followed.  Maya was raped by her mother’s gentlemen friend and refused to speak to anyone except her brother. She knew what she was supposed to do and say and how mamma would understand, but Maya knew what she had to do for the sake of every one she loved.

Dr. Angelou is so much more than can be put on a three page essay. She is a woman viewed as an example and mentor by other African-American and white women. I don’t think the phrase, “I can’t” have “Why don’t we?” Is she perfect? Absolutely not! she’d tell you. Is she spiritual, yes to the bone. Doesn’t she attribute much of her success in later life to her grandmother –“Mamma”. Does the world need more like her? Absolutely! And if ANYONE on HIGH happens to be hearing this review read aloud or in a heart, please let us keep Maya as long as we can.

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