I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a 1969 autobiography by American poet Maya Angelou. The book tells her life story up to age 17, including her experiences with racism and sexual assault. Written in installments for both The New York Times Magazine and Ms. magazine, it was first published on October 4, 1970, by Random House. The title comes from the poem “Sympathy” by African-American James Weldon Johnson.
For who is this book for ?
This book is for those who are interested in learning about Maya Angelou’s life and the racism she faced.
- The author has a very powerful voice that pulls you in and makes you feel like you’re right there with her.
- It’s an incredibly inspiring story, full of courage in the face of adversity.
- The writing is beautiful and poetic, making for a very engaging read.
- The writing can be difficult to follow at times
- The author goes into a lot of detail about her personal life, which some readers may not find interesting
- It’s over 500 pages long!
Learn more about the author
Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in 1928, in Saint Louis, Missouri. She grew up with her brother Bailey and their grandmother in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas. At age 8, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. The trauma led Maya to withdraw into silence for almost five years. She began speaking again at age 13, when she reconnected with her father who had been absent from her life since she was a baby. After graduating from high school, Maya moved to San Francisco where she became involved in the civil rights movement. In 1961, Martin Luther King Jr., asked her to record his “I Have a Dream” speech for posterity; later that year he appointed her as Northern Coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In addition to being an author and lecturer Dr Angelou has also worked as actress on stage and screen,, directorial advisor,. producer,, singer,,impresario ,and magazine editor.
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an important book because it tells the story of a Black woman growing up in America. It’s also beautifully written.”
“This is a memorable book, by turns funny and sorrowful.”
“It is a unique and special book. I Am grateful for having read it.”
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an amazing book. It’s a story of hope, strength and courage in the face of racism and sexual assault. Maya Angelou has such a powerful voice that I felt like she was telling my story.”