I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
is difficult to separate Maya Angelou's life and her work. When
she was raped, she did not tell anyone about it at first. But
when she did finally tell her brother, Bailey, he told their
mother and soon everyone knew. There was a court case, 'Mr.
Freeman' was jailed but released the same day, and the very
next day he was found dead. In I Know Why The Caged Bird
Sings she describes the impact that these events had on
her life. She described the same experience on archive recordings
and in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
was 7 and a half and I thought that my voice had killed
him, that if I hadn't spoken his name, if I hadn't spoken,
that the man would still be alive and so I took responsibility
for his death and stopped talking. I thought I could talk
to Bailey because somehow, my brother was beyond everything,
he couldn't be touched. I mean God himself would not have
struck Bailey, so I could talk to Bailey"|
I had to stop talking
The first volume of her autobiography ends with the birth of Angelou's illegitimate child. She had gone from being a mute young girl, to becoming a star pupil, winning a scholarship to study drama and dance. She graduated from high school just a few months before giving birth to her son, Clyde. She hadn't told anyone she was pregnant until three weeks before the birth.
Look at the baby
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (1969), Virago
And Still I Rise (poems) (1986), Virago
Even the Stars Look Lonesome (poems)(1998), Virago