All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes is about hopelessness and repeats the theme of displacement. However, in this instance, the sense of displacement is more complex than in I Know Where the Caged Bird Sings. In the 1960’s, Angelou travels to what she believes is the place of her African roots, hoping that this country will fill the vacuum she feels for home. By returning to the land of her ancestors, where all are black regardless of color, she hopes to find and perhaps recognize “home.” She joins other black Americans also questing for identity and security, and, like most of them, Angelou discovers that the geographical search is a misleading one. The source of security, she comes to learn, is not in a place but within oneself.
Angelou chooses to live in Ghana following the end of her marriage. Kwame Nkrumah is Ghana’s beloved ruler five years after its independence from Britain, and there is a sense of pride in the new country. Angelou joins a group of black Americans who have come to Ghana to be part of the great experiment. Angelou hopes that she and her son will find a land freed of the racial bigotry she has faced wherever she has lived or traveled. Hopeful and idealistic, she sets herself up for disappointment and disillusion. During her three-year stay in Africa, she is not welcomed as she has expected to be; even more painful, she is frequently ignored by the very people with whom she thinks she shares...
(The entire section is 596 words.)