Champion In I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

332 Words2 Pages
Maya Angelou grew up in a time when there was many racial conflicts and segregation particularly against African Americans. In the nineteenth chapter of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings titled “Champions of the World” , Angelou indirectly addresses the conflicting relations between whites and African Americans. Angelou most notably describes these relations in paragraphs 16, 17 and 28. In paragraphs 16 and 17, Angelou describes the people’s reactions to the way the fight between Joe Louis and Carnera was going. Joe Louis, who was representing-as she describes-all the Negroes around the world, was losing. Angelou writes that if Louis lost it would mean the fall of her people. Although it is not a literal statement, she implies that a loss would mean to lose their pride and dignity. Louis had to prove they were strong and equally capable of succeeding. Angelou also states, “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”. With this statement she describes the mistreatment of African Americans that was ongoing at that time; even though slavery no longer existed many white people still treated African Americans as inferiors. Louis needed to win in order to eliminate all the false accusations once and for all. In the last paragraph, once it is revealed that Louis won the fight, Angelou once again addresses the racial conflicts. She finishes the narration by saying “It wouldn’t do for a Black man and his family to be caught on a lonely country road on a night when Joe Louis had proved we were the strongest people in the world”, this ironic statement describes the conflict that had resulted from Louis’s victory. Blacks now faced the danger of being attacked by angered white people. Even though Louis had won the fight and proved that African Americans were equally capable of succeeding,
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