Escaped of The Caged Bird

1236 Words5 Pages
Envision 74 years ago, an African-American that had just returned from war going into a restaurant and not being served because of the Jim Crow laws. As a black person in the 1930's and the 1940's, little power or even respect was given. Blacks, especially women, were not given a felicitous education because it was illegal to acquire and obtain books during this time period (Depression 17). Awarded over fifty honorary degrees, Maya Angelou wrote her best-selling novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Women Memoirist 36). Dealing with the dilemma to learn to read and write, you wonder how one of the best African-American authors of all time could prosper during such hardships. This novel takes place deep in the South in the midst of a beginning to a cultural and political change. Written in 1969, the novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is Maya Angelou’s most famous novel which was deeply shaped by growing up during the Great Depression, facing racism and discrimination in the South, and enduring sexual and mental abuse. It was remarkably difficult for African-Americans during the Great Depression. Very few had jobs and the ones that were privileged enough to have jobs had to give them up to the white people that had lost theirs. Many became homeless and set up small shanty homes which they shared with several other people. There were several boycotts and riots at all the factories; some leading to violence like the burning of a paper factor in St. Louis (Lynch, African American Life). The Great Depression was a result of the stock market crash that occurred October 29th, 1929. More than 50% of the United States was unemployed and couldn’t even make enough money to feed their family. Many African-American families, including ... ... middle of paper ... ...she recognizes though who have helped her through them. Maya Angelou’s novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings recognizes the trials and tribulations as a young African-American girl during the come up of the Depression era where she faced the constant struggle of racism and discrimination and sexual abuse. With an end to this era came an end to many of the cultural struggles that she faced as a child. In the beginning of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya was an insecure, out of place child, but by the end of the story she was shaped into a humble, loving young woman. These are only a few influences Maya Angelou used to complete her autobiography. Many young black girls everyday are encouraged by Maya Angelou’s novel and accept their racial uniqueness. Today Maya Angelou is a successful and powerful motivator to all the black birds helping them sing their songs.
Open Document