• Michelle Smith

Amazing Melanated Mommies: 16

Updated: Apr 18, 2019

While African American history is too extraordinary to be summed up in a year, let alone a month, we will be celebrating phenomenal women who changed the world as we see it now all while raising children. If they can do it, so can we. Lets do it!!!

Maya Angelou was a poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, Angelou’s voice would prove to be more powerful that she could have ever fathomed, a voice that she lost at one point only to regain with a vengeance. At the age of 8 Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. Shortly after only spending a day in jail her attacker was murdered. It was rumored that one or some of her uncles were responsible for the death. Feeling that it was her fault, and that her voice killed him Angelou went mute for 5 years. It was during this time that she discovered her love of literature and a talent for a remarkable memory. At the age of 14 Angelou attended the California Labor School. At the age of 16, she became the first black female cable carconductor in San Francisco. A year later she gave birth to her only son, Guy. Over her career Angelo befriended and assisted the likes of Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., along with many other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Not only has she been a staple for the African American community, but for African American women in particular as she was one of the first black women to candidly discuss the trials and tribulations of her life from an open standpoint, even exposing her past as a sex worker. In a 1995 interview, Angelou said, "I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks, 'I never did anything wrong. Who, Moi? – never I. I have no skeletons in my closet. In fact, I have no closet.' They lie like that and then young people find themselves in situations and they think, 'Damn I must be a pretty bad guy. My mom or dad never did anything wrong.' They can’t forgive themselves and go on with their lives.” Thank you Maya Angelou for being willing to open your book of healing and encouraging others to do the same. Salute Dr. Maya Angelou.

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