Letter to My Daughter
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Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that taught Angelou lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.
Whether she is recalling lost friends such as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice, Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.
there about my country that makes me hang my head and avert my eyes when I hear the words the United States of America, and what am I doing about it? Am I relating my disappointment to my leaders and to my fellow citizens, or am I like someone not involved, sitting high and looking low? As Americans, we should not be afraid to respond. We have asked questions down a pyramid of years and given answers, which our children memorize, and which have become an integral part of the spoken American
I had known a woman in Egypt who would not allow her servants to walk on her rugs saying that only she, her family and friends were going to wear out her expensive carpets. Samia plummeted in my estimation. Obviously she had informed her guests that she would not look favorably on them if they stepped on her rug. I wondered what words did one use to inform a guest how to behave? I decided to find out. I went into the room and in the guise of looking closely at some paintings on the wall, I
Divorce like every other rite of passage introduces new landscapes, new rhythms, new faces and places, and sometimes races. I fulfilled my lecture engagements around the country, meanwhile looking for a safe and soft place to fall. As a writer I should be able to pick up my yellow pads, ballpoint pens, Random House dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus, King James Bible, a deck of playing cards, and a bottle of good sherry and write anywhere. Denver, Colorado, was beautiful, but its air too raw, and
in the rapist’s mind, a private courtship, where the courted is unaware of her suitor, but the suitor is obsessed with the object of his desire. He follows, observes, and is the excited protagonist in his sexual drama. The impulsive rape is no less sexual, merely less extenuated. The violator who stumbles upon his unprotected victim is sexually agitated by surprise. He experiences the same vulgar rush as the flasher, save that his pleasure is not satisfied with brief shock, he has a surge and
replacement’s fare to Europe, and my own fare home. I met that new pressure by singing in two more nightclubs and teaching dance to professional dancers and to children barely able to walk. At last I had the money and at last I boarded a ship in Naples, Italy, for New York. I refused to fly because it occurred to me if the plane crashed, my son would only be able to lament, “My mother died when I was eight years old. She was an entertainer.” I had to get back to San Francisco and let him know