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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

After Maya Johnson, age five, is raped while visiting her mother in St. Louis, she and her older brother Bailey are returned to the loving care of Momma Henderson (the children’s grandmother) in Stamps, Arkansas. Because of her traumatic experience, Maya stops speaking – even five years after the incident. She becomes instead a keen observer of her surroundings, particularly with the racial politics and divisions in her town.

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Mrs. Bertha Flowers, an “aristocrat of Black Stamps,” helps Maya get back on her feet. She tells Maya: “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning.”

It is with these lines that Maya Johnson’s voice becomes alive. A historical autobiography that depicts one woman’s survival through adolescence, breaking down racial barriers, and becoming a mother; all the while showing the trials, motivations and triumphs that come along with being outcast from society.

Number of
1070L High School 246 Autobiographical 1969 0553279378

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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