*There’s not enough words in anyone’s dictionary that could adequately describe Maya Angelou.
And after sitting around the house for hours listening, and watching the news reports of her demise, I couldn’t help but think about the turbulent years of the sixties.
It was during that time period that America was experiencing the civil rights movement and a series of assignations ranging from President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy.
And on top of all that, the war in Viet Nam kept trudging along daily as hundreds of thousands of black men and women were facing down discrimination, poverty, and police brutality here in this country while being recruited to fight in that dirty war overseas.
Maya Angelou to this writer, was the most liberated black woman in America. Through her writings she told the story of her struggles as a black woman growing up and being raped by her mother’s boyfriend who was tried and convicted for the crime, but before he could began serving his sentence he was found beaten to death. That incident was one of the lowest points in her life according to her , and it made her go into complete silence for several years. This all happened when she was just 8 years old and it’s just one of many life experiences that she chronicled through her poetry.
She practically worshiped her mother Vivian Baxter whom she described as a ” hurricane in it’s perfect power”. Her mother no doubt passed down to her the traits, and strengths that motivated her to grow and develop into a strong and successful woman that evolved into an actress, lecturer, author, activist, and motion picture director.
It was during the height of the civil rights and black movement that she worked along side with Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X, whom she also assisted in forming the Organization of Afro American Unity (OAAU) shortly before he was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York in 1965.
Since that time she has wrote a countless number of books, journals, and periodicals that chronicle and reflect the experience of being black in America.
In her life and time she traveled around the world to so many places, and for a time she lived in Cairo, Egypt in 1960 where she lectured and became the editor of the English version weekly, The Arab Observer.
Of the 30 best selling books she wrote, it’s the one entitled “I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings” that has received the most critical acclaim.
The impact that Maya Angelou had on the millions of black Americans has been tremendous. And the giant footprints that she left behind that carved the pathway of inspiration for all of us is unmeasurable, and may not be filled too soon.
Her soul has returned to God, and may he grant her peace in paradise.
Mohammed Mubarak can be reached at [email protected] for your comments.