Maya Angelou's childhood life was not normal but full of struggle. First, she faced problems with her family after her parents got separated. Later, she was assaulted by her mother's boyfriend and became muted for five years. And while she was born in St. Louis, Missouri, she was raised in different places. Here are all the facts.
Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, poet, and civil rights activist. She began her professional career as a dancer by forming a dance group named Al and Rita. She started gaining fame in the 1960s after she performed in Jean Genet's play The Blacks along with Abbey Lincoln, Roscoe Lee Brown, James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett, Godfrey Cambridge, and Cicely Tyson.
Recently, Maya has been in the headlines after her video went viral all over Twitter. The video, which is guessed to have been taken in 1990, where she is correcting a young girl on how she pronounces her name, has sparked a debate about respect on social media. The video was posted by a random person, and he captioned it as he can't wait to turn 20 so he can read one of all for calling him by his first name.
After seeing the video, many people started showing interest in knowing more about Maya Angelou. What is her current condition? In this article, we will be talking about why she is called a hero, her childhood, and her personal life. To know more, read this article.
All the Facts About Maya Angelou’s Childhood Life: Parents, Family & More!
Maya Angelou was sexually abused and raped by her mother's boyfriend in her childhood. The incident made her mute for five years and caused a mental health problem. She has overcome the problem through education and help from a teacher, Mrs. Bertha Flowers.
Maya had faced many ups and downs since her childhood. She has been called a real hero, which seems to be true after knowing her personal life in detail. She started struggling with her life at the age of three when her parents' calamitous marriage ended.
Maya Angelou's childhood life was full of struggles.
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After the separation of her parents, Maya and her brother, who was a year older than her, were sent to Stamps, Arkansas, by her father alone by train to live with her paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson. She started enjoying her childhood with her grandmother and brother again but at the age of seven, her father decided to return them to their mother.
Maya's mother, who was living in Oakland, California, with her boyfriend at the time, welcomed her children and joined them at a local high school, George Washington High School.
Maya started taking dance and drama courses at the California Labor School after moving with her mother. As we know, everything can't be as happy as it looks; she faced the worst thing in her childhood.
One of the traumatizing experiences Maya Angelou faced during her childhood was being sexually abused and raped by her mother's boyfriend, Freeman. After being abused, Maya spoke about her problem to her brother, who told the rest of the family.
Soon, Freeman was found guilty and was jailed for only one day. After the release of Freeman, he was said to have been killed by Angelou's uncle.
Where Was Maya Angelou Born and Raised?
Although Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, she was raised in different places. First by her parents in St. Louis, then by her grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, and again by her mother in Oakland, California.
After the murder of Freeman, Maya's mother's ex-boyfriend, when Angelou was eight and her brother was nine, they were sent to their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.
Maya Angelou was raped by her mother's boyfriend.
Image Source: Pinterest
At that time, Maya became mute for almost five years because of Freeman's murder. During an interview, Maya mentioned her anxiety disorder, which caused her to not speak due to physical and psychological trauma during her childhood, and stated;
I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone.
Maya Angelou’s Education!
As Maya Angelou migrated from one place to another many times during her childhood, she attended many schools for education. While she was staying with her mother in Oakland, she joined George Washington High School and California Labor School. After moving with her grandmother, she joined the Lafayette County Training School in Stamps, which was a Rosenwald School.
While Maya learned dancing and extracurricular activities at the California Labor School, she learned to speak again at the County Training School. County Training School credits her teacher and friend of her family, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, with helping her speak again.
Mr. Bertha teaches and counsels her with many things. He challenges her by saying, You do not love poetry, not until you speak it, which is said to be the most effective thing he did to help her.