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Old May 30th, 2014 #1
Alex Linder
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,478
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default Books Commonly Assigned in U.S. Public Schools

[looking for agitprop works]

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), by Maya Angelou

Agitprop lessons: blacks had it so bad growing up in segregated South, black women are heroes who just need to realize it, blacks are great, have/can overcome anything, even white racism, which is the worst thing in the world. self-esteem preaching + anti-whiteism + girl-empowerment.

Many of the problems Maya encounters in her childhood stem from the overt racism of her white neighbors. Although Momma is relatively wealthy because she owns the general store at the heart of Stamps' Black community, the white children of their town hassle Maya's family relentlessly. One of these "powhitetrash" girls, for example, reveals her pubic hair to Momma in a humiliating incident. Early in the book, Momma hides Uncle Willie in a vegetable bin to protect him from Ku Klux Klan raiders. Maya has to endure the insult of her name being changed to Mary by a racist employer. A white speaker at her eighth grade graduation ceremony disparages the Black audience by suggesting that they have limited job opportunities. A white dentist refuses to treat Maya's rotting tooth, even when Momma reminds him that she had loaned him money during the Depression. The Black community of Stamps enjoys a moment of racial victory when they listen to the radio broadcast of Joe Louis's championship fight, but generally they feel the heavy weight of racist oppression.
As a poet, author, playwright, director, performer, actress, professor, producer, singer and civil right's activist, "I have created myself," she told USA Today. "I have taught myself so much."

Many of us read her best known book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in school. Published in 1969, it lyrically recounted her years growing up in the Jim Crow South. The memoir was one of the first autobiographies by a 20th century black woman to reach a general readership.

In addition to her six volumes of autobiographies, Angelou wrote iconic poems including "Still I Rise," which Nelson Mandela read aloud at his presidential inauguration.

I_Know_Why_the_Caged_Bird_Sings I_Know_Why_the_Caged_Bird_Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou. The first in a seven-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma.

Cover from the first edition of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

Last edited by Alex Linder; May 30th, 2014 at 09:00 PM.


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