In All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes Maya Angelou sets out in considerable detail a personal and spiritual journey to self-awareness. This journey constitutes a fascinating story in its own right, one that the author feels needs to be shared.
In doing so, Angelou imparts the wisdom she acquired from this significant part of her life. During these years, she went to Ghana in West Africa, the land of her ancestors. In making this journey, she hoped to be able to get in touch with her ethnic roots, with the African heritage her ancestors were forced to leave behind.
Initially, all is well. Angelou revels in an environment free from the rampant bigotry and racial prejudice she constantly faces back home in the United States. In this country, where just about everyone is Black, the color of her skin is not a problem.
And yet, over the course of her three-year stay in West Africa, Angelou becomes increasingly disillusioned with her ancestral homeland. Although the color of her skin may not be a problem, she remains an outsider in Ghanaian society, which leads to her being ignored by the very same people with whom she thought she could forge a connection based on a common ethnic heritage.
As a consequence of her experiences in Africa, Angelou comes to understand that the sense of security for which she had been searching for so long can only be found within oneself and not in any precise geographical location.