A modern classic, this book traces the early life of renowned poet Maya Angelou. Growing up in small town Arkansas wasn't easy. Segregation and racism were the rule and it was so accepted that any sort of rebellion was unheard of, despite the downtrodden nature of a people who still worked the cotton fields.
Angelou writes with a breathtaking honesty about her life, sharing her pains and her joys in the same steady voice. However that voice transforms as she experiences the wonder of the big city, first for a year in St. Louis, which would shatter her, and then in San Francisco where she learned to view the world with new eyes.
I took my time reading this book, because while it was stunning, I have no ability to relate. My life and experience as a white woman growing up fifty years later, is so vastly different. My privilege will forever separate me from the experiences of a black woman, of any era, but especially one growing up under the shadow of Jim Crow. I think this is an important book and one that everyone in the United States should read, most especially now due to the recent increase in racial tensions. Only through sharing their experiences can we even begin to understand how different life is for the African American.