The Voice of the Oppressed: The Tale of Maya Angelou

Through the years, the influence of Maya Angelou has been imparted to the lives of numerous people around the world. This resilient woman was undoubtedly an epitome of the perfect irony of her adversities and circumstances. Who would have thought that a girl who has been mute for 5 years would gain her voice to speak up through her literary arts poetry pieces? Who would have thought that a young lady who feared the danger in her own words would actually use them soon to change the world?

By: Catherine Watts

History of Literary Arts With Maya

In spite of being known for her astonishing talent in writing, Maya Angelou has been promising to her other careers such as being a teacher, speaker, and civil rights activist. She herself has experienced the discrimination of being Black back when she was a child. However, this was not her only adversary back then.

Maya Angelou experienced a self-enforced silence after going through a violent situation. The boyfriend of her mother raped her when she was eight and by the time she has spoken about it, she thought that her words have the power to destroy other people’s lives. After she opened up about her molesting experience to her brother, she later found out that his abuser was found beaten to death. From this moment, she swore to herself that no word will ever escape her mouth ever again.

Maya wasn’t uttering a word for the whole duration of six years. Thanks to her teacher, Ms. Bertha Flowers, she gradually earned the motivation to speak again. Ms. Flowers recognized Maya’s extraordinary love for literary arts and she provided the already-bookworm kid with several classic literary pieces.  In the long run, her teacher finally encouraged her to break out her silence when she challenged Maya’s enthusiasm about poetry. Ms. Flowers once told her that “You do not love poetry, not until you speak it.” After initial hesitation, Maya finally said her first words after 5 years of being mute.


Inspired by Ms. Flowers’ great intervention in unfurling her potential. Maya decided that she also wanted to be a teacher to impart the same impact on her future students. Along with her teaching career, she authored several books and poems to maximize the impact of her voice in the world. One of her well-regarded creation is the “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” which typically narrates her childhood biography. This classic piece has inspired several people across the globe.

The Voice of Black People

Maya Angelou is a promising civil rights activist. She realized that the voice she didn’t utilize for 5 years actually has the power to impart influence. Being bullied when she was a child, this extraordinary woman spoke up about the neglected rights of the Black community. Through the years, she exerted her time and effort to enlighten everyone. Talking about the discrimination that people experienced due to the color of their skin. Who would have thought that a mute young girl will soon use her words to do her part in changing the world?

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