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Maya Angelou Essay, Research Paper

Maya Angelou has dedicated her life to end

prejudices faced by many black females in the 20th century.

As an author, poet, and entertainer, she is known best for

her strong portrayal of African-American women. Some of

her most outstanding work is the series of autobiographies

that she wrote telling about her childhood. Her work has

contributed immensely to Americans everywhere. She has

also broken many barriers for black women in writing,

entertainment, and in film making. Maya Angelou is definitely

a positive role model to people everywhere. Maya Angelou

has made many contributions through her poetry, writing,

songwriting, acting, and film directing. She has written a

series of autobiographical books focusing on her childhood

until the birth of her own child, ten of which have appeared

on the best selling list (?Biography? 1). The most prestigious

of the novels is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This is a

very controversial novel dealing with many serious issues

including rape and murder. It is her most critically acclaimed

work and was nominated for the National Book Award

(?Maya American? 1). She often writes using a female as the

strong role model. In addition, she has published many

distinguished poems which have received recognition by

many people including President Clinton. Her poem ?On the

Pulse of Morning? was chosen by President Clinton to be

read at the 1993 presidential inauguration. Many of her

volumes of poetry have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize

including Shaker, Why Don?t You Sing?, And Still I Rise,

and Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ?fore I Die (?Maya

American? 2). In addition to writing, she has had success in

other categories of entertainment. Her screenplay Georgia,

Georgia was produced in 1971, and she wrote and

produced a prize winning documentary ?Afro-Americans in

the Arts? which received a Golden Eagle award

(?Biography? 1) (?Maya Angelou? 1). Her musical

compositions have been recorded by many famous people

including B.B. King (?Biography? 1). Likewise, she was

nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the hit movie

Roots (?Biography? 1). Many distinguished Americans have

chosen her to serve on commissions and attend very

important conferences. Martian Luther King, Jr., requested

her as the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian

Leadership Conference; Gerald Ford appointed her to the

Bicentennial Commission, and Jimmy Carter named her to

the National Commission on the Observance of International

Women?s Year (?Maya Angelou? 1). Maya Angelou has

made an enormous contribution to not only the black

society, but to everyone in the 1900?s. Maya Angelou?s

work has broken many barriers for the black writers,

entertainers, and directors. She has been a woman of firsts

among the African American women. Angelou was the

ground breaker for many black women in script writing and

directing. In 1971, she became the first black woman to

have an original screenplay produced (?Biography? 1). She

was not only the first African-American, but also the first

woman to read her work at a presidential inauguration

(?Maya American? 2). In her series of autobiographical

books, she describes the racist and sexual pressures put on

black women during the time when she was a young girl.

This helped people become aware of what was going on

during this time period. In addition to all of this, she was also

San Francisco?s first black woman conductor (?Biography?

1). Ms. Angelou now spends her time informing others about

her knowledge of prejudices, and teaches students to stand

up for their rights. She is a professor of American Studies at

Wake Forest University in North Carolina (?Biography? 1).

She also educates about courage, perseverance,

self-acceptance, and self-actualization. Maya Angelou helps

African-American women to speak out against prejudices

and is definitely a role model to many young black women.

In conclusion, Maya Angelou is a remarkable person, and

she has made a tremendous contribution to all Americans

through her writing, screenwriting, and songwriting. Her

autobiographies help readers to visualize all of the hardships

Maya Angelou faced and overcame while growing up. She

helps black women to realize they do not have to be

defeated by prejudices, and is an identity for young women

of all races to relate to.

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