Dr. Angelou reminds us all to be humbled by life, and to be in tune with our realities for better or for worse as they make us who we are. (photo by Associated Press)
Recently, the world witnessed the passing of one of the greatest authors and artist of modern times, Dr. Maya Angelou, marking the end of a grand legacy that spans over a half of century. Initially beginning her career as a singer, songwriter, dancer, and performer, it was Dr. Angelou’s literary expeditions as a novelist and poet that brought her to global recognition and eternal admiration. As we all mourn Dr. Maya Angelou’s death, it is of the upmost importance to remember what she stood for as well as the overall essence of her works, as both matters shed light on exactly what makes this particular historical figure legendary.
Dr. Angelou stems from a long line of Black writers that reveal the harsh realities of living in America throughout the course of history. Since the Colonial Era, the Black author has served as a baseline of reality in an American society that has often proved itself to be cruel and contradictory towards their people. From Frederick Douglas to Langston Hughes and beyond, the inhumanity displayed within our society has always been a fore front theme and a heavy subject of exploration within our literature. Dr. Angelou contributes to this rich tradition of African American authors by adapting her personal narrative into stories of the time through seven autobiographical novels, giving countless beings and generations the opportunity to explore the complexities within society, and more importantly, the complexities within themselves.
This crucial aspect of Dr. Angelou’s writings is what brought her to the pinnacle of American culture. Her ability to convey the internal human struggle, each of our very own personal battles, through her own story is remarkable, truly one of a kind. The ever sought after liberation from the worlds continuing issues of racism, sexism, and overall misconduct of the human species are only a few of the themes Dr. Angelou explores in her extremely personal writings. Her first novel, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, left her audiences in pure shock and brought Dr. Angelou world wide acclaim as she shares her early beginnings in a racially segregated south. Her willingness to bare all about the most challenging of aspects of her life, her dealings with racism and an early childhood molestation that lead to greater trials, lies at the center of her morale; every instant of life is precious, do not be ashamed of the defeats of your past, they make us who we are in this very moment.
Dr. Angelou reminds us all to be humbled by life, and to be in tune with our realities for better or worse as they make us who we are. Though a mass amount of courage is needed, she teaches we should not shy away from the perceived imperfections within ourselves. Personally I feel this is what fuels Dr. Angelou’s ability to capture the most agonizing aspects of reality to create a grander beautiful picture of hope and human triumph, making her one of a kind through the realms of history.