Maya Angelou was an American poet, writer, and civil rights activist that was widely known for her book I Know Why Caged Birds Sing. She was born in 1928, April 4th, in St. Louis, Missouri. This memoir told her story as an Africana American woman growing up in the united states, with the discussion of the theme of gender, racism, identity, and white privilege that she faced as she was growing up. The memoir is widely known as it was the first memoir by an Africana American writer as a non-fiction bestseller.
Maya is also widely known for her activism work as she was a major contributor to the black history in the united states. She is known as an icon of black culture as she participated in the civil rights, the movement that helped the African Americans make progress towards equality in the united states. Through her work in activism and her various literature books that she wrote, Maya is known as a hero to many because she encourages people to take on life by the lapels and face all hardships and trials in life head-on. Maya displayed a strong and courageous demeanor and attitude in her life, and she has contributed largely to the journey to freedom and equality for the black community and for women in the united states.
Maya Angelou was a poet, novelist, activist, writer, filmmaker, and dancer, born in St Louis, Missouri, on April 4th, 1928, and died on May 28th, 2014 (Alsarhan, 2019). “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” She lived by this quote and believed in it as she went through life. Maya was originally born as Marguerite Annie Johnson (Labrecque, 2016). The name Maya came from her brother, Bailey, who could not pronounce her name, Marguerite, and called her ‘My Sister’. After Bailey read the book on Maya Indians, he began calling her Maya, and thus the name Maya stuck. Maya lived with her parents until she was three when they divorced, and she and her brother, Bailey, moved to live in Arkansas with their grandmother. As a young girl, Maya experienced discrimination and racism for her black skin, as she lived in Arkansas, around white people in the community (Arthami, 2017). At the time, racism was a legally enforced aspect of life for many African Americans, and the law did not protect the black community from acts of discrimination in society and the justice system. In the American south, where she and her brother lived with their grandmother, racism was at its epitome, and as a young girl, this affected Maya’s identity development as she constantly believed that the white girls were much prettier with their blond hair and blue eyes. However, in this harsh life of struggle with identity and discrimination, Maya developed a strong religious faith and learned more about the traditional African American way of life. Maya credits her extended family, with her grandmother playing a pivotal role in teaching her the black community’s traditions early on in life. Maya attributed this education as playing a major role in her future career and endeavors, as she would go on to participate in the civil rights movement and write memoirs and poems that talked majorly about the struggles of the black community. Through her work, Maya is now known for the positive attitude that she encouraged the black people to approach life with, fight for equality, and face hardships in life.
Early life and Identity
As a young child living with her grandmother, Maya struggled with her identity and the strained relationship with her parents. She and her brother felt abandoned by their parents, which contributed much to her lack of confidence when she lived in a community with young white girls that were generally considered prettier than her. When she turned 7, Maya and her brother visited her mother, who was living in Chicago, living with her boyfriends. Her mother’s boyfriend sexually molested Maya. The molestation caused her shame, and she did not disclose this with her parents of relatives. However, she told Bailey, and sometime later, she received the news that her uncle had killed her molester. This news shocked her as she blamed herself for the man’s death, and she did not speak for five years. Maya would later start speaking at the age of 13 when she moved to live with their mother in San Francisco.
Maya attended Mission High School, where she later got a scholarship to study drama and dance at San Francisco Labor School (Labrecque, 2016). In this school, Maya got involved in some progressive ideas and activities that would later contribute to her activism passion. Maya would later drop out of this school for a while, and after she rejoined highs school years later, she got pregnant in her senior year. However, Maya worked to graduate high school a few weeks before giving birth to her son, Guy. She began life a single mother at 16, living alone and working as a waitress and a cook to support herself and her son.
Singing and Dancing career
In 1952, Maya got married to Anastasios Angeloupoulos, a Greek Sailor (Labrecque, 2016). Before beginning her career as a singer, Maya would work and dance in strip clubs where the theater group later discovered her. She then began her career as a singer in nightclubs, where she then adopted the name Maya Angelou as her professional name. This name would work to set her apart from the many calypso music singers. Her career as a singer flourished, but her marriage would fail in 1954. Maya would later audition for the international tour for Porgy and Bess opera, where she won the position and went on tour with the production. She began her tour to Europe under Porgy and Bess opera production, which took place in 1954 and 1955, and they eventually toured 22 countries (Arthami, 2017). During these tours to Europe and other countries, Maya worked to learn the new languages in every country they toured, which increased her language proficiency. In 1957, Maya worked on recording and releasing her first album Calypso Lady. All during her career as a singer, Maya still studied modern dance and also worked as a dancer, working on various television shows with Alvin Ailey.
Coming from her love for writing, Maya had written so many songs and poems in the 1950s, and this further increased her interest in developing herself and as a writer. Maya would move to New York in 1959, and worked with the Harlem Writers Guild group and developed her writing talents and skills. It was during her time at the guild that she began to curve her position among the young African American writers and creatives that were associated with the civil rights movement. In New York, Maya participated in the Off-Broadway production of The Blacks by Jean Genet. Maya also worked with Comedian Godfrey Cambridge, with whom they wrote and performed the play cabaret for freedom. While working and living in New York, Maya met and fell in love with Vusumzi Make, a South African activist with whom she would later move with to Cairo, together with her son, Guy. In Cairo, Maya worked as the editor for The Arab Observer. Maya later moved with Guy to Ghana, where she worked for the African Review. She lived here with her son, Guy, who had suffered a terrible car accident and also worked to care for him as she recovered. During the few years she lived in Ghana, Maya also worked for the Ghanaian broadcasting company and for the Ghanaian Times. During her time in Africa, Maya continued to improve her proficiency in various languages as she studies French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and Fanti, a west African language. It was during her time in Ghana that Maya met Malcolm X, the American civil rights movement leader.
Maya would later move back to California in 1965, where she joined Malcolm X in building the Organization of African American Unity (Sandeen, 2019). However, shortly after her arrival in California, Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965, February 1st. The organization that they planned on building together died, and Maya moved to work in the television industry in production, but she still remained active in the civil rights movement. Joining the civil rights movement, Maya began working with Martin Luther King Jr, who offered Maya a position to work as the Northern Coordinator of the Southern Christian leadership Conferences (Sandeen, 2019). Maya’s role in the civil rights movement involved fighting for equality and leading the people, promoting the movement, and also depicting the image of those days when African Americans were ruthlessly treated in the society. Maya worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr and helped him in the organizing of the Poor people’s March and in organizing the striking of the workers in Memphis for sanitation. The March began in 1968 and had the goal of providing and fighting for the development of antipoverty legislation in America to protect the poor (Sandeen, 2019). The March was not successful, but it helped to up the civil rights movement’s role from advocating for racial equality to advocating for social class inequality and economic inequality, in addition to racial inequality. The March was held in Washington DC, and as the campaign was still ongoing, martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in April. This assassination largely impacted Maya as it happened on her 40th birthday as she lost a close friend and leader of the black people. Maya was reported saying,” Every year, on that day, Coretta and I would send each other flowers,” Coretta Scott King was martin King Jr’s wife, who went on to die in 2006.
Despite being upset about the assassination of King, Maya continued her work on activism, and in her career as a writer, Maya met author James Baldwin, who convinced her to attend a party in Jules Feiffer’s home, a cartoonist and writer. Jules was impressed with Maya’s work and proficiency that he persuaded her to start working on her most famed memoir, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing.
Maya wrote various literature, including memoirs, poetry, plays and films, children’s books, cookbook, personal essays, and recordings. Some of her most acclaimed and famed books and poems include I Know Why Caged Birds Sing, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water’ Fore I Diiie, Gather Together in My Name, And Still I Rise (1978), The Heart of a Woman (1981), On the Pulse of Morning (1993), Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1993), Phenomenal Woman (1995), Letter to My Daughter (2008), Mom & Me & Mom (2013). Maya wrote a total of 36 books during her 50- year career. She used her books to teach people about the African American experience in the united states and women’s experience in society then (Arthami, 2017). Through these books, Maya has taught many and inspired many and has been a mentor for many women in the world today. She gave many lessons of her trials and tribulations and also some wins in her life. Her books are geared towards encouraging people to be strong and face challenges headstrong. Through her literature, Maya gave hope to many to be positive even in some impossible situations.
Maya described her writing process in an interview with the Paris Review. The process would begin with her renting a hotel room for a few months from where she could work on her writing. She would lie across the bed, and she would get to work for about 6 hours, working from six-thirty in the morning to twelve-thirty in the afternoon, after which she would go home (Meyer). When she was writing at the hotel rooms, she would have the staff remove everything on the walls so that she would have no distractions or anything holding her back. Maya believed that connecting to the language and remembering how beautiful the language is being effective in making the writing process smoother. “try to pull the language in to such a sharpness that it jumps off the page. It must look easy, but it takes me forever to get it to look so easy. Of course, there are those critics—New York critics as a rule—who say, Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer. Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing. I work at the language.” (Maya, The Paris Review).
Her writing style in her poems is also described as hard to classify because she caused various wiring styles in all her works. However, in various other poems, she used the wiring style, Black Secular, which is a form of simplified English that incorporates metaphors that represented the slavery faced by African Americans (Ali). Black secular dialect provided the readers of her poems with a discussion on black religion and cultural aspects and experiences, including social and political aspects. Maya also used the call and response writing style that incorporates a system where the poet and the readers appear to be engaged in verbal interaction. Maya used these techniques in the poems Still I Rise, and Sepia Fashion Show.
There is also a lot of metaphors in her work that were specifically geared to be understood by black people. Through these metaphors, in her poems, Maya communicated to the black people about the need to protest the government’s decision to ban the teaching of the black secular language in schools. She also used these metaphors to point out the racism in society towards black people and encourage the black community to be hopeful despite the discrimination they were facing. They would get the freedom they deserved.
In many of her poems, Maya used a style where the verses were followed by a repeated chorus after every few verses. This style is known as the blues-based model, an example of such poems with the blues-based style includes the phenomenal women, and I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing. Maya used this style in her poems, as it was a style that was well-known and popular among the slaves. This genre was created by the slaves as a way to communicate their woes and express their feelings and grief about slavery and racism, and tell their story to the world and to other African Americans in the United States. Therefore, as a role model and an activist for the equality of black people, Maya used this style to communicate largely to the African Americans in America (Arthami, 2017). Her books were a large part of her activism and her shedding light on the experience of racism in the united states.
Her work was highly valued and successful, and she had several of her books listed in the New York times’ bestseller: I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, Even The Stars Looked Lonesome, and the Heart of a Woman. This was one of Maya’s achievements, having these three books on the New York Time’s Bestseller at the for six weeks, simultaneously.
I Know Why the caged birds sing.
Being a prolific memoirist and poet, Maya’s books had recurring themes of racism, feminism, identity, love, heartbreak, family, and hope.
In the memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing, written in 1969, Maya talks about her childhood. This was her first of seven autobiographies. As Maya, her most famous and acclaimed book explores her experiences as a young African American girl growing up in racist united states with a dysfunctional family (Alsarhan, 2019). This book follows Maya and her brother, Bailey, as they are moved from living with their parents to their grandmother’s house in Arkansas. Throughout the memoir, Maya talks about her being ridiculed, tormented as not beautiful, and rejected in the community for being a black girl. She also talks about her experience of being sexually molested and going through a mental struggle of identity development and loving herself for being a black person. The book points out the deeply rooted racism in southern America, where she lived with her brother and grandmother. “If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.” Maya discusses her struggle with identity development, growing up in the united states as a black woman, during the Jim Crow era. It includes the experiences of other African Americans subjected to indignities and some lynched for getting involved with the white women in the area. Maya talks about her very difficult and challenging upbringing, and all the hardships she had to go through, form her family being broken and societal racism. However, in this book, the assumptions and attitude of hope and strength for the black people. In this memoir, Maya further talk about her introduction to the language, writing, and poetry. She accounts for how she came to be a poet, from a young age, when she began developing an interest in books and discovered her love for language. After her sexual assault, she fell silent; Maya took refuge in listening to others speak and listening to their sounds. Her uncle tells her that she will be okay if she is smart but ugly. She later met Mrs. Flowers, who introduced her to reading books and taught her how to read, memorize, and understand poetry. Maya describes this as part of her childhood’s most formative experiences, as she began to express her love for poetry and writing.
The title of the book, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, is used as a metaphor to further communicate her experiences as a black woman in America. The caged bird sing refers to how Maya felt in America, caged, and held back without freedom and equality (KAMALI). It also references the comfort she found in the poetry and the language that she learned from Mrs. Flowers. She is a young girl, vulnerable, growing up in an unforgiving world, and she uses her love for language as an art, as her salvation from these experiences and feelings. “Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you” (Angelou). Maya uses her childhood story to communicate to the world about her journey of hardships and the need to develop a positive attitude and a fighter attitude in one’s; life. In this memoir, may talk about her journey of pursuing the various dreams she had, dancing singing, writing and acting, but also states that the journey was not easy for her. From her hard work and termination portrayed in this memoir, Maya has gained worldwide recognition as a cultural icon.
Maya is known as a cultural pioneer for her various titled she held in her diverse career that lasted more than 50 years. Over the years, Maya received various awards and achievements for her work in the society and in the theatre, politics, and poetry industry.
First, Maya is acclaimed for her role as a civil rights activist, who worked with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, to help organize the various organizations and marches under the civil rights movement.
Her second most acclaimed achievement was her book I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, which was an instant best-seller. These books were listed under the New York Times’ best-seller for two years after its release in 1969. Maya was later nominated in 1970 for the National Book Award for this memoir, and in 2011, the memoir was ranked as one of the most influential books in modern times, by Time Magazine.
Maya is also known as a cultural pioneer for being the first black woman to write a play for a major film release. Maya expanded her writing skills through the writing of the screenplay Georgia, Georgia, 1972 Swedish-American film. She also participated in composing the film’s score. The film was later nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. After the film, Maya continued on to wrote for various television shows and theater plays, until she got the role of directing the film Down in the Delta in 1998.
Maya was also the first female poet to perform her poem during a presidential inauguration ceremony. In 1993 after the election of Bill Clinton into the presidency, Maya recited her poem On the Pulse of Morning. This was a great achievement for Maya as the only poet who had recited before the president before was Robert Frost, in the 1961 John F Kennedy inauguration ceremony. Through such acts and achievements, Maya became a role model and an inspiration for many black men and women, who were still experiencing racism in America.
In 2010, at the age of 82, Maya was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by President Barack Obama. This came after she had received various humanitarian awards and prestigious literary awards and nominations in the previous years. The presidential medal of freedom is valued as the most distinguished award to accord the highest civilian honor in America. Before her death in 2014, aged 86, Maya was set to attend a luncheon where she was set to be presented with the Beacon of Life Award.
Other awards that Maya received throughout her lustrous career included the Grammy for the best spoken word album in 1994, 1996 and 2003. She also received the Marian Anderson Award 2008, Spingarn Medal 1994, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Nonfiction in 2009 and 2005. She also won a BET Honors Award for Literary Arts in 2012, Women in Film Crystal Award 1992, Glamour Award for the Poet 2009 and the Langston Hughes medal in 1991.
Maya is also famed as an educator, for her work and time spent teaching and lecturing in various universities. She received 30 honorary degrees and worked in universities in California, Kansas, and North Carolina. Maya lectured at Wichita State University, California State University Sacramento, and Wake Forest University. Maya was also known as the first female streetcar driver during her stay In San Francisco. She attributes this short stint to her interest in knowing things in an interview with Smith Sonian (2003). “Most of the time, I see myself as wanting to know. And I see myself as a very interested person. I’ve never been bored in my life…. if I were bored, now that would interest me. I’d think, my God, how did that happen and what’s going on? I’d be caught up in it. Are you kidding? Bored?” (Angelou).
Maya is considered a hero to the African Americans community because she was impactful, inspirational, and passionate about telling African Americans’ real stories through film and her work of literature. Maya made a lasting impact in the world over her 50-year career. Her dream was to have a colorful society where all white and black people had equal opportunities and freedom in voting, employment, politics, and socially. Maya constantly worked hard to achieve her dreams of equality, which made her a pioneer for black women and other women of color. Through her role as a dancer, poet, writer, filmmaker, and actor, she paved the way for many young African American women over the years that aspired to be involved in such works of art, like Maya. She was impactful through her powerful books and the language she used that she used this influence to break the racial barriers that the black people were facing. She proved to the world the capability of people of color to achieve anything and everything they dreamt of, despite the hardships of being a black person in America. Her efforts were geared towards bringing more people of color to the screen to participate in the media and increase representation. She left a mark in the media and film industry, with her various work and roles she held over the years, making her a role model for many young black aspiring artists today.
Maya was also considered as a hero and inspirational because of her focus on various aspects of life in all her work. Her words have impacted the community today, as the filmmaker, director and she has been described by producer Tyler Perry,” Her words inspired peace and equality and enriched the culture of our country. We are grateful for the work she leaves behind, and we wish her the peace she always sought.” (Perry). Maya received a lot of knowledge of the African American community from her relatives and her grandmother. Through this knowledge, she passed it down to the generations to include the information in her literature. Her aspiration to have peace in the country, which was aligned with equality for all, is today an inspiration for many women and women of color to fight for their freedom and peace in America in a peaceful manner.
Maya Angelou is a hero to many, as she went about her fight and quest for peace and equality, without a motive to get recognition from the media or the community. She worked hard to achieve her goals and fought for what she believed in, sometimes working on the civil rights movement’s sidelines. The recognition that Maya has today was a product of her hard work, but through her work, we see that Maya was passionate about freedom for the black people and did not desire to be recognized in the media. Today, through her work, Maya has left an imprint in the mind of every young and old individual going through hardships and adversity, to have hope for a better society.
The fiery spirit throughout her life drove her ability to achieve her dreams. When she was young, Maya faced a lot of hardships from society and her family experiences. However, she faced all these challenges head-on and worked hard to get to the top. From her actions and her work, we can tell that Maya was filled with passion. She went about her work and activism with a lot of confidence, which not many people of color had during that time, as they were largely discriminated against in society.
Maya used her talent and passion, being a guiding light to such people in her community that was afraid of fighting for justice and freedom in fear of being arrested or killed. Her spirit was full of fire, and her works were kindle, full of inspiration and hope, expressed through her love for language and her love for the community. Maya’s stake on what it meant to be passionate,” life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait” (Angelou).
Maya has been referred to as a renaissance woman for her profound and vast knowledge in various fields, as she was very proficient with various languages and in fields of politics, film, editing and singing and dancing. Maya is also referred to as a renaissance woman due to her characteristics of being well-educated, witty and a master of many things in the society. As a true renaissance woman, Maya worked to inspire arts of various forms including literature, sings, films, and poems over the years. Maya has also inspired writers and singers to compose songs, including Grammy nominee McBride. Throughout her career, Maya has been an inspiration to many artist, celebrities, politicians and to normal citizens in the united states and the world.
Legacy of leadership
Maya is a cultural icon and hero to many, due to her role as a leader in the community and the various roles. Maya’s thoughts on what being a leader meant to her, “A leader sees greatness in other people. You can’t be much of a leader if all you see is yourself. Only equals make friends. A man or woman who sees other people as whole and prepared and accords them respect and the same rights has arranged his or her own allies” (Angelou). She believed that a leader had the role of maintaining equality and empowering others to be equal in society. Maya talked about her believes against dictatorship as a form of leadership. She has inspired many to be true leaders today through her actions as a civil rights movement leader.
Maya’s legacy of leadership is celebrated and applied by many today, in the society, citing her remarks,” I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou). Maya communicates through this quote that as a leader, it is one’s job to make people feel like equals, as one can influence how people feel and how they act. Maya’s lessons on leadership include being kind to others, listen to others, and remember important details about those around us. It is not okay to be normal as Maya Angelou said,” If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” (Maya Angelou). Maya inspires people to strive to be more than normal and do extraordinary things in their life and their businesses. she teaches us that being normal will never let us grow or inspire others and achieve our dreams. Those that surpass the need to be normal will achieve what they work for.
As such, Maya’s leadership style can be described as a transformation leadership. She believed in empowering, inspiring, and motivating others to be innovative and creative to facilitate change and growth in society. Maya left a mark in her legacy for being a good leader, keen on using her life to reach people across the world, and inspire them to be better leaders. Her transformational leadership style is also evident in her role as the Southern Christian leadership Conference as the northern coordinator. In this role, Maya worked to empower the organization’s followers and nurtured them to inspire positivity among the followers. Maya worked to inspire change in the organization’s followers as a quest to try and inspire change in society from the inside out.
Maya also demonstrated her transformational leadership style when she worked with Malcolm x to form the Organization of Afro-American Unity. In this organization, she had a social architect’s role in creating a vision for the organization. Her role helped to give the organization a conceptual map of where the people were headed thus, developing the organization’s identity. Through her poems and books, Maya demonstrated transformational leadership by using them to address the complicated issues the society was facing, thus inspiring others to follow suit and demand change.
Maya inspired many to be better leaders through her actions and her literature. Some of the biggest lessons that Maya taught us on leadership are knowing yourself, expecting change and knowing how to deal with it, and keeping learning to help others grow and help them learn. Maya demonstrated her awareness of herself in her memoirs and autobiographies she wrote. She believed that a leader should share their stories with others to inspire them. She stated, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” (Maya Angelou). Maya also inspired leaders to anticipate change in their lives and understand how to deal with change. As a leader, one must be bold and strong to know where to spend their energy on. A leader has the role of changing what they can and remain motivated even when they cannot change something. This is a leadership lesson from Maya through her quotes and her actions in her life. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain,” (Angelou). She inspired people to be proactive and be leaders in their various endeavors. Maya took the initiative throughout her life as a leader. Her participation in various organizations, events, and in her writing and film career demonstrates how a leader should lead others in taking the initiative.
Death and celebration
Following her death in 2014, many leaders, artists, and authors came to mourn the death of the poet and activist and demonstrated the love and passions he had for the world. Her death was announced by the Wake Forest University, where she lectured American studies since 1982. In the statement, Maya was referred to as “A national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions across the world” (Duke, 2016). She was honored by many, including President Barack Obama, president bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and Quincy Jones, all of who are respected leaders in their various fields in America.
After her death, many people spoke of Maya as a fervent outspoken woman who was lively and had many great accomplishments. President Barack Obama stated,” She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds” (Obama). Through this quote, Obama communicates how Maya lived her life, as an ardent independent woman, with a lot of strength. She was passionate and moved with confidence, and her spirit helped her go through all the roadblocks that she encountered. Maya was also praised as being a king woman who believed in doing what was right for all (Duke, 2016). Despite the word not treating her well, her passion and love towards the world is a sign of how much compassion she had in her for the human race.
Maya Angelou is a cultural icon in the world today and has been for decades. She is majorly known for her activism role, her inspiring quotes, and her works of literature. Through her literature, Maya inspires many by telling African Americans’ stories in America through her experiences as a black woman. We can learn from Maya to be steadfast and bold in our endeavors and go about life doing good for others around use, promoting peace and love. Maya talked a lot about love, and through her actions, we all see the love she had for the human race and her deep desire to have a society that existed in love and harmony. For many people of color today, Maya is a role model and an inspiration that motivates them to fight for equality and justice for all in America. Maya is also a valued icon that has taught many in the black community, especially the new generations, about the black people’s cultures and their journey in the fight for freedom. Thus, we have a role in continuing to uphold Maya’s dream for America, in being a country that lives peacefully and is equal for all. Today, her work is used to teach new generations of the black community history and to teach people about slavery, and the fight for freedom for the black community. Her work is also used a guide for the black community in their continued fight against racism. They are also used by leaders in various fields, politicians and creatives, to inspire those around them and to guide them in their work.
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