I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the
early years of writer and activist Maya Angelou. The first in a
six-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. In the course of Caged Bird, Maya transforms from a victim
of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-possessed, dignified
young woman capable of responding to racism. Angelou was challenged by
her friend, author James Baldwin, and her editor, Robert Loomis, to
write an autobiography that was also a piece of literature. Because
Angelou uses thematic development and other techniques common to
fiction, reviewers often categorize Caged Bird as autobiographical
fiction, but the prevailing critical view characterizes it as an
autobiography, a genre she attempts to critique, change, and expand.
The book covers topics common to autobiographies written by black
American women in the years following the civil rights movement: a
celebration of black motherhood; a critique of racism; the importance
of family; and the quest for independence, personal dignity, and
self-definition. Caged Bird was nominated for a National Book Award in
1970 and remained on The New York Times paperback bestseller list for
two years. However, the book's graphic depiction of childhood rape,
racism, and sexuality have caused it to be challenged or banned in some
schools and libraries.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Robert Walpole took office as First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of
the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons, essentially becoming
the first British Prime Minister even though the term "Prime Minister"
was not used at the time.
Bryant's Minstrels premiered the popular American song "Dixie" in New
York City as part of their blackface minstrel show.
Twelve nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty, creating NATO, an
organization that constitutes a system of collective defense whereby
its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by
any external party.
American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated
on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Surgeons Denton Cooley and Domingo Liotta implanted the first total
Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
USA, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. An engraving in wood, especially one used for printing.
2. A print taken from an engraving in wood
Wikiquote quote of the day:
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
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