Literary Canon Board of Directions

Dear Literary Canon Board of Directors, I am writing this letter because in spite of the racial discrimination and hindrances faced by Maya Angelou, she was able to establish her identity as a successful and dynamic writer and African American activist. The first reason I believe Maya Angelou should be included in the literary canon is the fact that she struggled to become one of the finest writers of her time and as an African American activist. She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, she was respected as a spokesperson for black people, and her works have been considered a defense of Black culture. Her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide.

The second reason is because Angelou’s life has certainly been a full one. In the mid-1950s, Angelou’s career as a performer began to take off. She landed a role in a touring production of Porgy and Bess. 1961, Angelou appeared in an off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks with James Earl Jones. Angelou moved on to other pursuits, spending much of the 1960s abroad; she first lived in Egypt and then in Ghana, working as an editor and a freelance writer. Her efforts resulted in the enormously successful 1969 memoir about her childhood and young adult years, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman.

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The final reason is the fact that she was an African American who was subjected to racism but still she managed to become what she is today. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. Maya was active in the Civil Rights movement, and also worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Maya Angelou is deserving of the literary canon because Maya’s life was full of miseries and unhappiness but she still managed to rise above the norms of society to leave unprecedented example behind her.

I hope that you will consider this choice for the literary canon. Thank you very much.