Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Maya Angelou

Written By Aisha Mehta (Grade 6)

Unfortunately, throughout history it has been observed that the world tends to favour men over women. May it be any field, sport, arts, literature, or other, women have been considered “inferior” to men. This is a sad reality that has persisted for far too long.

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes”, is echoed in the voice of Maya Angelou. Our heroes are well-recognized and celebrated, but what about our she-roes? Maya Angelou, a woman like any other, was raised by her paternal grandmother, after her parents’ tragic divorce.

Maya Angelou was born on 4th April 1928, in St. Louis, United States. When Angelou was seven, she returned to her mother. During her stay with her mother, she was abused by her mother’s boyfriend. Maya was muted for nearly five years, thinking her voice killed the man. During the years of her silence, she transformed herself into an avid reader, who learned to understand and observe the world.

Maya Angelou was a prolific writer and poet, recognized for her powerful words and inspirational works. Some of her writings that have moved me and touched my heart are “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, “Gather Together in My Name”, and “The Heart of a Woman”. Through her writing, she often delved into the intricate themes of identity, racism, and the complex nature of human experience. Angelou’s work has laid a remarkable impact on literature and continues to symbolize hope for thousands of women. Reading each of her works reminded me how fortunate I am to have everything I could wish for right before me. I never realized that a million women in this world fight for their breath every day. It has taught me the crucial lesson of empathy.

Maya Angelou’s unique writing style is celebrated in the numerous memoirs she has written, each with its own charm. Her talent for storytelling is truly one-of-a-kind. Despite facing unimaginable hardships and adversities, she never gave up hope and continued to speak her mind. Her resilience and determination has indeed inspired me.

A number of universities, writers’ organizations, government agencies and certain interest groups have honoured Maya. She had won a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her book of poetry, ‘Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Die’, a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1973 play ‘Look Away’, and three Grammys for her spoken word albums. For the first time a black woman was depicted on a quarter. This woman has left a lasting impression on history.

Her life was a roller coaster ride against a thousand odds. Her fight against all the odds, having the valour to have spoken her heart, and the bravery she exhibited changed the lives of a thousand women, not just hers. It’s the story of Maya Angelou, a woman who inspires me in her own right.

Featured Image Courtesy – USA Today


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