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PinkMonkey.com-MonkeyNotes-I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou


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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou QUOTATION: In Stamps the segregation was so complete that most Black children didn’t really, absolutely know what whites looked like.
ATTRIBUTION: Maya Angelou (b. 1928), African American poet, autobiographer, and performer. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, ch. 4 (1970).

QUOTATION: During those years in Stamps, I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare. He was my first white love.... it was Shakespeare who said, “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes.” It was a state of mind with which I found myself most familiar. I pacified myself about his whiteness by saying that after all he had been dead so long it couldn’t matter to anyone any more.
ATTRIBUTION: Maya Angelou (b. 1928), African American poet, autobiographer, and performer. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, ch. 2 (1970).

QUOTATION: This might be the end of the world. If Joe lost we were back in slavery and beyond help. It would all be true, the accusations that we were lower types of human beings. Only a little higher than apes. True that we were stupid and ugly and lazy and dirty and, unlucky and worst of all, that God Himself hated us and ordained us to be hewers of wood and drawers of water, forever and ever, world without end.
ATTRIBUTION: Maya Angelou (b. 1928), African American poet, autobiographer, and performer. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, ch. 19 (1970).

QUOTATION: The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors, and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance.
ATTRIBUTION: Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, ch. 34 (1969).

QUOTATION: All of childhood’s unanswered questions must finally be passed back to the town and answered there. Heroes and bogey men, values and dislikes, are first encountered and labeled in that early environment. In later years they change faces, places and maybe races, tactics, intensities and goals, but beneath those penetrable masks they wear forever the stocking-capped faces of childhood.
ATTRIBUTION: Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author, poet. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, ch. 4 (1969).

QUOTATION: I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God’s will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at a commensurate speed.
ATTRIBUTION: Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, vol. 1, ch. 18 (1969).

QUOTATION: If you ask a Negro where he’s been, he’ll tell you where he’s going.
ATTRIBUTION: African-American saying, quoted by Maya Angelou in: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, vol. 1, ch. 25 (1969).

QUOTATION: Stories of law violations are weighed on a different set of scales in the Black mind than in the white. Petty crimes embarrass the community and many people wistfully wonder why Negroes don’t rob more banks, embezzle more funds and employ graft in the unions.... This ... appeals particularly to one who is unable to compete legally with his fellow citizens.
ATTRIBUTION: Maya Angelou (b. 1928), African American poet, autobiographer, and performer. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, ch. 29 (1970).

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