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3 Women who Inspire Me – Maya Angelou

Cheat Sheet Principle of Life: You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)

Poet, Civil Rights Activist, Film & Television Producer, Playwright, Film Director, Author, Actress, Professor

I was in my early twenties, when I came to know about Maya Angelou. I picked up Maya Angelou’s book, ‘Why the Caged Bird Sings?’, on one of my visits to the Chicago Public Library. The Library was celebrating ‘Black History Month.’

Maya Angelou became a mother out of wedlock, when she was 17. She wrote in her book that she had sex so that she would become more womanly. The first time sex led to her pregnancy. She gave birth to a boy.  Maya Angelou’s mother was open-minded to accept her daughter and  grandson into her family.

In her twenties, she endured an abusive relationship.  At one point of time, her boyfriend, out of jealousy, beat her until she lost her consciousness, locked her and left. Maya Angelou’s mother broke open the door, took her to hospital and saved her life.

In mid-twenties, Maya Angelou performed in dance troupes. She had to stay away from her son, for long periods of time, which made her feel guilty. The work made her stressed and tired. When she returned home after one of her trips, she was depressed. She wanted to kill herself and her son. She shouted at her son, ‘Go downstairs, take the cab and go to your grandmother. Don’t stay in front of me. Get out.’

She went to see a Psychiatrist after her son left. The Psychiatrist was a ‘white male’. She smiled to herself and thought, ‘How can a ‘white male’ understand the problems of a ‘black woman?’

She left from his office and went to her close friend.

After the suicide incident, Maya Angelou concentrated on writing and built her career in ‘writing’. She published seven autobiographies and several books on essays and poetry. She received dozens of awards for her work.

Maya Angelou was also active in the Civil Rights movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011.

Maya Angelou is an inspiration to me because she has faced the worst any woman could face. She is a woman who did not give up no matter what.

I write about the third woman who inspires me next week (22nd Feb 2015).

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