Maya Angelou: About Letter to My
By Laura Major
women making the largest strides in the arenas of politics, education,
entrepreneurship and business, no other time is more poignant for Letter to
My Daughter, Maya Angelou's poetic tribute to the emotionally adopted
daughters who have touched her life. In response to the question regarding the
reason for her tribute, she was quoted, "I gave birth to one child–a son, but I
have thousands of daughters." No doubt with this poetic volume, Dr. Angelou will
garner many more female supporters happy to draw upon her maternal wisdom.
On September 11, 2008, the seventh anniversary of a very
scary and profound time in US history, Dr. Maya Angelou met with Literary
Publicist and CEO of EDC Creations Ella Curry to discuss her gift of poetry to
the world's daughters. When Curry further asked about the book's inspiration,
Dr. Angelou confided, "Well, this is my 80th year and I have been celebrating it
all year long. And I realize that I have much less time ahead of me than I have
behind and that I have learned some lessons and am in the process of learning
some. So I thought I would jot down some of the incidents, some events which
took place in my life from which I drew great lessons."
Always a teacher and naturally so, Angelou had this to say,
"In looking at that [my life's lessons], I didn't want to say which lessons I
learned or what exactly I did with the lessons–solutions. Because I know that my
readers are as intelligent and resourceful and they will read about one incident
they will get one solution. They'll gather it and then six months later, if they
read it again they will find another possible lesson to be learned. I know that
is the way I do when I read other people's work...I hope that's what will happen
to my readers."
Opening with a powerful letter to daughters everywhere,
Angelou says in part, "My life has been long, and believing that life loves the
liver of it, I have dared to try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring,
still." As Curry accurately described, Dr. Angelou, "in the rhythm of her poetry
and the elegance of her prose", expresses the numerous useful lessons in terms
of the people she's met, the places she's been and the events of her life.
During the interview with Ms. Curry, one of the most
awe-struck memories she shares is her friendship with Civil Rights Activist,
Coretta Scott King. She says of their friendship, "I was brought to look at
those events because a number of friends of mine have died recently and I
thought back to Ms. King and how we were chosen sisters and how I miss her."
Knowing the importance of grieving time but also knowing the need to celebrate
the legacy our loves often leave for us, Dr. Angelo continued, "...I felt, 'Well
maybe, maybe there's a way I can reduce the mourning, if I can go back to that
life and see what their friendship did for me.' And as I went back, I was
disheartened, heartened, I was inspired because I had been thinking about their
absence and not really about the fun we had and the lessons they taught me." Dr.
Angelou goes on to describe how Ms. King's "stick-to-it-tiveness" has bolstered
a lasting memory of her influential husband that may not have been more than
"footnote in history" without Ms. King's tenacity.
Dr. Maya Angelou's Letter to My Daughter is packed
with profound and inspirational gems designed to do what all faithful motherly
advice does–educate, empower and empathize.
About Laura Major:
Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in
the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published
by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website,
Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the
multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.
Dr. Maya Angelou: About the Time Past and
By Laura Major
a presence that is all embracing, Dr. Maya Angelou has released to the world a
volume of poetry and prose to the women she has adopted as daughters and to
those who have claimed her as mother in Letter to My Daughter.
Not unlike other works such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or The
Heart of a Woman, Dr. Angelou reveals to the women of the world, as Literary
Publicist and EDC Creations CEO Ella Curry put it, in the rhythm of her poetry
and the elegance of her prose", an expression of numerous useful lessons in
terms of the people she's met, the places she's traveled and the events of her
When Dr. Angelou met with Curry on September 11th,
2008, the seventh anniversary of a very scary and profound time in US history,
it was to discuss the release of her new book Letter to My Daughter. What
came out of that interview were the pure magic of spirit and a great
appreciation of life's experiences.
After speaking of friends long and recently passed, Curry,
considering the political climate in which we find ourselves as a nation, asked
Dr. Angelou about her own activist history. In the late 1950's, Dr. Angelou was
appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King to the position of northern coordinator for
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Ever the storyteller, Dr. Angelou
took us back to that time envisioning her as she was, tall, thin and with
enormously billowing natural hair. Dr. Angelou goes on to tell of the
experience, "A number of the people really, they were made really
uncomfortable...people around the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in
New York. One woman dropped a note in a column in the New York African American
newspaper, The Amsterdam News. She wrote, "Who is this person who
has come from the west coast with the savage hairdo? Don't they have beauticians
or at least barbers out there on the coast?'" An anecdote like that is
priceless and is only an example of many magical moments in Curry's interview
with Dr. Angelou.
Given the topic, Dr. Angelou moved on to describe the
electricity of the time. She said, "It was heavy and so exciting because you'd
have to be in his presence to sense the authority that Rev. King had." When
Curry asked if Angelou saw similarities with the buzz created around Democratic
Presidential-nominee Barack Obama, she had this to say, "Yes, I sense some of
that. Of course, Senator Obama [is living] in another time. He is very
inclusive, which is a wonderful thing. At the same time when Rev. King first
started, he was not inclusive, he wasn't exclusive but it was only at the end of
his life that he began to include openly." She went on to illustrate the fact
with King's organization of the Poor People's March, a march that was not about
race as much as it was about the struggle of the poor, no matter what skin they
might be in. Regarding Dr. King, she continued, "When he became that inclusive,
he really became dangerous."
Such insight from a woman who has lived in both periods is
truly priceless. Dr. Angelou knows something about inclusiveness as she
addresses Letter to My Daughter she writes, "You are Black and White,
Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish-speaking, Native American and Aleut. You are
fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered,
and I am speaking to you all." Thank God she is as we are all eager to listen.
About Laura Major: Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and
freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first
novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also
manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its
kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well
as multicultural book reviews.
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