Maya Angelou, Civil Rights Author

Maya Angelou was an author during the Civil Rights Movement that lasted from 1896- 1954. The Civil Rights Movement was a time when African Americans were mistreated by whites and were fighting for their freedom. Blacks were equal to whites by law, but were not treated as equals and were trying to end racial discrimination. There were protests, gatherings, and marches where people of all colors fought for African Americans to be equal. Maya Angelou was a major influence during that time.

Maya Angelou wrote about her experiences during this time. She wrote three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited for a few plays, movies, and television shows. Maya Angelou wanted to show people how blacks were treated during this time by writing of things that happened to her. In the book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou says, “The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time that she is caught at the tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice, white illogical hate and Black lack of power.” Angelou is saying that young, black women have the hardest time in society.

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They are discriminated for their race and gender, and because of their age they are unable to do anything about their situation. In the same book Maya Angelou tells of a time when a dentist wouldn’t treat her toothache because she was black. The doctor says to her grandmother, “Annie, my policy is I’d rather stick my hand in a dog’s mouth than a n*****’s.” This shows that blacks were viewed in society as lower than an animals. Maya Angelou showed the injustice in society and gave in in depth view of how blacks were treated.

Civil Rights impacts our world in a number of ways. People should not be judged for their skin color, but by who they are. People should read Maya Angelou’s work and realize that people shouldn’t be mistreated because they look differently than others. Angelou’s books allow people to see what it is like to be mistreated and they should learn from her experiences and stories. Reading about what happened during the Civil Rights Movement teaches people of hard times and that America should never return to times like those. Maya Angelou was a major influence during those times and continues to teach future generations of racial discrimination and injustice.