dr. maya angelou women authors women's history month 2010

Women’s History Month: Dr. Maya Angelou

Hey Y’all:

As my final post for Women’s History Month I would like to celebrate Dr. Maya Angelou.

I recently re-read “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” and fell in love with Dr. Angelou all over again.

Once I read something by an author I go on a quest to find something recent that she/he has written. While scanning the shelves of my local library a few months ago I stumbled upon “Letter To My Daughter” by Maya Angelou.

This book is dedicated to the daughter that Dr. Angelou never had ā€œI gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.ā€ā€“from Letter to My Daughter

As one of her daughters I found this collection of stories to be thought provoking, eye opening and life altering. The lessons she shares from her own life made me smile and a few times shed a tear. I was so moved by this collection that I passed it on to my friend before it was due back to the library.

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4th 1928. Raised between St. Louis, MO and Stamps, AK where she experienced racial discrimination, but was also absorbed in a close knit African American community, with unshakable faith and values. As a teenager Dr. Angelou won a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. At 14 she dropped out of school and became the first African American cable car conductor in San Francisco history. Dr. Angelou was a trailblazer even from youth. Although she mothered a child young, she still lived a full life. She toured Europe, studied modern dance with Martha Graham and danced with Alvin Ailey. She recorded an album, was a member of the Harlem writers guild, has lived in Cairo, Egypt; speaks French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti.

Dr. Angelou has written more than 30 bestselling titles, appeared in numerous films and made for TV movies. She has written screen plays and acted Off-Broadway. Dr. Angelou has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has received over 30 Honorary Degrees.

She has served on two presidential committees and was requested to read a poem at the 1993 inauguration of President Clinton. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, The Lincoln Medal in 2008 and has received 3 Grammy awards. Dr. Angelou is truly a
Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms

The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman, That’s me.

I walk into a room just as cool as you please, and to a man, the fellows stand or fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say,It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth,The swing in my waist,And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered what they see in me.They try so much but they can’t touch my inner mystery.When I try to show them they say they still can’t see.

I say, It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman, That’s me.

Now you understand just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing it ought to make you proud.

I say, It’s in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand, The need of my care,

‘Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman, That’s me.

Maya Angelou

Until next time…


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