Themes in Maya Angelou’s autobiographies include racism, identity,
family, and travel. Angelou (1928–2014), an African-American writer,
achieved critical acclaim for her first of seven autobiographies, I Know
Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). That book and the second in the series,
Gather Together in My Name (1974), are about the lives of Black women in
America. Her autobiographies all have the same structure, a narrative of
how she coped within the larger white society she inhabited. In her
third autobiography, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like
Christmas (1976), she showed the integrity of the African-American
character as she experienced more positive interactions with whites. The
series continues with The Heart of a Woman (1981), All God’s Children
Need Traveling Shoes (1986), A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002), and Mom &
Me & Mom (2013). Angelou’s autobiographies take place from Arkansas to
Africa and back to the US, and span almost forty years, from the start
of World War II to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu departed for Chengdu, staying with his
fellow poet Pei Di, where he composed poems about life in his thatched
Aida, one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most popular operas, made its
debut in Cairo, Egypt.
On New Zealand’s North Island, at Tangiwai, a railway bridge
was damaged by a lahar and collapsed beneath a passenger train, killing
Astronaut William Anders of the NASA Apollo 8 mission, the
first manned voyage to orbit the Moon, took the famous photograph known
as “Earthrise”, showing the Earth rising above the lunar surface.
Cyclone Tracy struck Darwin, Australia, eventually destroying
more than 70% of the city.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
The member of staff at a restaurant who keeps the wine cellar and
advises guests on a choice of wines; a wine steward, a wine waiter.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
I think it will be found that the grand style arises in poetry,
when a noble nature, poetically gifted, treats with simplicity or with
severity a serious subject.
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