Maya Angelou: A Phenomenal Woman
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Poet. Orator. Actress. Activist. Professor. Writer. Singer. Phenomenal Woman. These and many more superlatives were used to describe the incomparable Maya Angelou. Gone too soon in 2014 at the age of 86, Dr. Angelou’s legacy lives on through the words she used to eloquently, powerfully, and honestly express emotions, capture experiences, and spread hope. Some of Dr. Angelou's works, along with commentary and other classroom ready materials, are provided below.
I. The Poet
Maya Angelou bio (Poetry Foundation)
"Maya Angelou: Live" (video of poetry reading)
"Love Liberates" (video interview)
"And Still I Rise" (PBS American Masters film)
"Why the Caged Bird Raps" (audio)
Stages of Freedom: 2019 "And Still I Rise" poetry reading (Rhode Island)
"Still I Rise" (1978)
"You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise."
The Poem (with audio option)
"Phenomenal Woman" (1978)
"Caged Bird" (1983)
Dr. Angelou reading "Caged Bird" (video, PBS Learning Media)
"I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals –
I know what the caged bird feels!"
"His Day is Done" (2013)
Dr. Maya Angelou reading "His Day is Done," a poem written about South Africa's first Black President, Nelson Mandela, upon his death in 2013 (video).
"Abundant Hope" (2011)
Dr. Angelou reading "Abundant Hope" at a reception for the opening of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 2011 (video).
"A Brave and Startling Truth" (1995)
Dr. Angelou reading "A Brave and Startling Truth" at the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations in 1995 (video).
"On the Pulse of Morning" (1993)
Dr. Angelou reading "On the Pulse of Morning" at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993 (video).
"A Plagued Journey" (1983)
"Woman Work" (1978)
Dr. Angelou reading "Woman Work" (video)