Question about Maya Angelou please helpwhy do you think it matters to Angelou that she "had proved that one of their descendant, at least one, could just briefly return to Africa, and that...

Question about Maya Angelou please help

why do you think it matters to Angelou that she "had proved that one of their descendant, at least one, could just briefly return to Africa, and that despite cruel betrayals, bitter ocean voyages, and hurtful centuries, we were still recognizable"?

Asked on by tida339

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Angelou is referring to her African ancestry. By returning to Africa for a visit, she could both acknowledge her roots and,  at the same time, celebrate how far she had come - from slavery to accomplished writer and teacher. She could return to Africa in triumph that she and her ancestors had overcome the centuries of hardships that her people, African-Americans, had endured. The first betrayal took place on African soil when tribes sold their own people into slavery, not realizing that the "African" definition of slavery meant a type of indentured servanthood which, at the end, would result in the "servant" being set free. This was NOT how the western world looked at slavery, however, so the Africans were betrayed by their own people first of all. Then they were subjected to horrific conditions on slave ships as they were transported across the ocean. Then, her people were enslaved for centuries until the slave trade was abolished and slavery was outlawed in the United States.

In spite of all of this oppression, she still has pride in her roots -- she is still recognizable as an African, but she is an African-American, and she celebrates all of who she is. She may have been a caged bird, but she knows how to sing.

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