Poetry Analysis - Still I Rise

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Maya Angelou (born on April 4, 1928) is an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly acclaimed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her first seventeen years. It brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award. Angelou was a member of the Harlem Writers Guild in the late 1950s, was active in the Civil Rights movement, and served as Northern Coordinator of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. At age eight, while living with her mother, Angelou was sexually abused and raped by her mother's boyfriend, Mr. Freeman. She confessed it to her brother, who told the rest of their family. Freeman was found guilty, but was jailed for one day. Four days after his release, he was killed, probably by Angelou's uncles. Angelou became mute for almost five years. Still I Rise is a poem of inspiration, appearing in 1978 with a collection of other poems in a book known by the same title. It's a fairly short poem consisting of 8 stanzas. It's an inspirational narrative written from the standpoint of a victorious woman speaking directly to those who wish to oppress and defame her character. In the first stanza, it appears as if she is speaking on behalf of a collective experience of black women, who at the time were battling against being blamed not only by sociologists but also black male nationalists for the destruction of the black family as a result of slavery creating a matriarchal family structure. She writes; You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. That verse alone appears

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