Maya Angelou was born April 4, 1948 in St.Louis, but was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. As a young girl she had many talents. Her talent led her to a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School (SFLS). Around 14, Maya decided to drop out of SFLS to become a cable car conductor. Soon after she graduated high school, May gave birth to her son, Guy Angelou. As a young, single mom, she had to do what she could to support her and her son. So she got a job as a waitress and a cook at the local diner. Even though she was a single mom, and worked at a shabby diner, she never let go of her dreams. She held on tight and moved on to a variety of television shoes, dancing. She soon moved to Cairo, Egypt to continue her new beginning. The next year, she moved to Ghana to teach at University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama. Throughout her years of teaching, she soon learned French, Spanish, Italian, and Arabic. While living in Ghana, she met Malcolm X. They became good friends and both moved to America. Soon after they came to America, Malcolm was assassinated. Martin Luther King and Maya became very close friends, but sadly, he was assassinated on her birthday. These losses of two good friends left her devastated. But Maya still didn’t let go of her passion. She became a famous artist, poet, civil rights leader, singer, songwriter, actress, historian, and novelist. Maya Angelou is a leader for many people. And her poem, “Still I Rise” is the best poem I’ve heard in my LIFE!
Still I Rise
By Maya Angelou
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries. Does my haughtiness offend you? Dont you take it awful hard;Cause I laugh like Ive got gold mines diggin in my own back yard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, Ill rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like Ive got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of historys shame I rise Up from a past thats rooted in pain I rise. Im a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak thats wondrously clear, I rise. Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.