While this poem is noted for its rousing singular voice, Maya Angelou does not forget to give credit where credit is due. Through the following quote from "Still I Rise," she pays homage to her ancestors, who struggled much more than she does and helped enable Angelou's own freedom.
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
The main theme of this poem is triumph over oppression. Through the above lines from the poem, Angelou connects her struggle--and ultimate triumph--to the pain and struggles of her ancestors. They survived through insurmountable and inhumane circumstances when activism was not an option. When it became possible to act, they worked tirelessly to ensure that she and the rest of their people would be free and have equal rights. The author recognizes that without these gifts inherited from her ancestors, she wouldn't be here as a free woman. Angelou creates a metaphor here, calling herself "the dream and the hope of the slave." This shows that as a free black woman with equal rights, her existence is the actualization of her ancestor's hopes and dreams.