Forged by Pain In 1940, the United States approached the eightieth-year anniversary of the abolition of slavery; however, the social oppression of African American citizens steadily increased. Despite being free for decades, they were still leagues below the white people who owned their ancestors. African American author Maya Angelou recollects on her experience of graduation from the eighth grade in her 1940 piece “Graduation Day.” The narrative not only highlights the importance of the narrator's graduation, but also the expectations of Angelou’s community due to their persecution and separation. Perseverance through separation and persecution forges dignity in an individual. The separation of the African American displays the importance of graduation day. Angelou was only graduating from the eighth grade, but because of the sociocultural differences, graduation proved momentous in their community. Angelou later states “Oh, it was important, all right. White folks would attend the ceremony, and two or three would speak of God and home, and the Southern way of life” (Angelou, 2014, p. 181). The school making a minute event into a grand celebration conveys much about the state of the position African Americans were subjected to. Angelou displays this later when she describes the scene of small children presented in a play about buttercups and daisies and bunny rabbits and older girls preparing snacks and beverages. Normal society does not make such an event of Middle School
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This act of persistence is evident through this quotation “she neither marched up to the stage like a conquering Amazon, nor did she look in the audience for Baily’s nod of approval.” This quotation depicts how even after being belittled by her White oppressors, she stood up for the black community, for her own education, and for the ideals of equality and freedom. Furthermore, her not looking at Baily for reassurance demonstrates her independence and her coming of age, an independence that is transgressive in the eyes of society, she is now able to affirm her own choices. Even though, in the beginning of the essay, she is shown to have an aversion to her own skin color as she has internalized all a lot of hatred that she faces, in this quotation it is clear that now she marches for herself and her whole community. Moreover, even though she is only sixteen, her enduring and unyielding battle against racial injustice and educational inequality is a testament to her indefatigable spirit. This is evident in this quotation “We were on top again. As always, again…. I was a proud member of the wonderful, beautiful Negro race.” This quotation demonstrates persistence as Angelou goes on to appreciate her race and realizes that they could be on top even after being continuously discouraged because of her skin color. She now referred to herself as a part of the wonderful, beautiful race, coming to terms with her own
Throughout life we go through many stepping stones, Maya Angelou's autobiographical essay "Graduation", was about more than just moving on to another grade. The unexpected events that occurred during the ceremony enabled her to graduate from the views of a child to the more experienced and sometimes disenchanting views of an adult. Upon reading the story there is an initial feeling of excitement and hope which was quickly tarnished with the abrupt awareness of human prejudices. The author vividly illustrates a rainbow of significant mood changes she undergoes throughout the story.
The audience of this poem are the people who want to learn about how America was during segregation. Teachers have taught us what they have been told to teach. However, Angelou has lived through this time and has experienced segregation. She is a credible
n American history, racial inequality has been a prevalent issue for many decades. Slavery is America's original sin. In the 1930s, racial inequality and segregation lived and breathed well. At this point in time, segregation in schools and other public places was still present. For preposterous reasons, white and black people had separate water fountains, restaurants, rest rooms, and areas on the bus. During this time full of racism and racial inequality, Maya Angelou was just a little girl growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis is a town in the South, like many others, had inequalities at the time. In 1938 Maya Angelou was only ten years old. At this age, she worked for a lady named Mrs. Viola Cullinan. Maya Angelou wrote briefly about her time spent working for Mrs. Cullinan in her short story “Mary.” Maya Angelou's’ use of vivid, direct characterization and alternating childish voice to mature adult narrative diction filtered through her authentic first person point of view helps to prominently establish the theme of Angelou’s distaste for racial inequality throughout the short story.
Throughout life we go through many stepping stones, Maya Angelou's autobiographical essay "Graduation", was about more than just moving on to another grade. The unexpected events that occurred during the ceremony enabled her to graduate from the views of a child to the more experienced and sometimes disenchanting views of an adult. Upon reading the story there is an initial feeling of excitement and hope which was quickly tarnished with the awareness of human prejudices. The author vividly illustrates many mood changes she undergoes throughout the story.
While Angelou is on her journey to the museum , she stays at a hotel where she has an interesting encounter with a Bell captain. She describes that boy as “Neat and proud of his efficiency the young black man deposited my luggage…” (Angelou, 90). She notices he’s very young. She asks him, where the Rural museum is. As Angelou describes it, his face goes blank and he is totally dumbfounded with her question. After a moment, the young man goes
Are encouraging words the uniting force when fighting injustice? In “Graduation Day,” Maya Angelou addresses how encouraging words affected the injustice she faced as a child. Angelou informs her audience about the influence encouraging words had on her and the people in her community. These uplifting words united her community in a time of overwhelming bias. Encouraging words unite oppressed people to fight injustice.
The thoughts and/or opinions of others often have to be overlooked or else they’ll ruin every happy moment that is to come. In Maya Angelou's story, Graduation, she discusses her eighth-grade graduation. Maya describes how she feels after listening to someone else opinion on her and the rest of African Americans of her graduating class at that time. This person's opinion had a huge impact on Maya herself, and the crowd. No one ever wants to feel wretched on the most memorable day of their life but this is exactly what took place on the day of Maya’s graduation.
“Graduation Day” illustrates Maya Angelou’s experience on her graduation day. All of Angelou’s feelings, reasoning, and thoughts of her graduation day are depicted between the pages of her short story. Her text covers multiple different aspects of a segregated community’s lifestyle and explains their decisions on coping with their limitations. The power of words impacts the community in several ways during Angelou’s story. Because words impact and shape people, they influence individuals into themselves.
Racial segregation was very dominant in the United States in the mid nineteen hundreds. This is the time that Maya Angelou was graduating from the eighth grade in Stamps Arkansas. The theme of racial segregation is well shown by the how different the schools of the African-Americans was compared to that of whites in the essay “Graduation” by Maya Angelou. In the essay the Angelou points out that Lafayette County Training School didn’t have a lawn, hedges, tennis court, climbing ivy as well as a fence the thing the white high school had. In every stage of life, graduation marks the advancement to the next different phase of life and is usually acknowledged by some ceremonies relating to the growth
Maya Angelou is a leading literary voice of the African-American community. She writes of the triumph of the human spirit over hardship and adversity. “Her style captures the ca-dences and aspirations of African American women whose strength she celebrates.” (Library of Chattanooga State, n. d.) Maya has paved the way for children who has had a damaged
“You have tried to destroy me and although I perish daily I shall not be moved,” (Angelou, 2014), says Maya Angelou in her Commencement speech to the 1992 Spelman College graduates. Poet and award-winning author, Maya Angelou, is most well known for her poetry, essay collection, and memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou happened to be the first black female cable car conductor who later started a career in theatre and music (Maya Angelou: Poet and Historian, n.d.). Once her acting and musical career began to take off, Angelou began touring with productions and released her first album Miss Calypso (Maya Angelou Fast Facts, 2017). Later, Angelou earned a Tony Award nomination for her role in the play Look Away and an Emmy Award nomination for the work she performed in the television mini-series Roots (Maya Angelou: Poet, Civil Rights Activist, Author, Activist, 2017). Angelou was also the first African American woman to have her screenplay produced (Maya Angelou: Poet, Civil Rights Activist, Author, Activist, 2017). Out of the number of poetry collections Angelou published, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die happened to be her most famous collection that was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize (Maya Angelou: Poet, Civil Rights Activist, Author, Activist, 2017). The focus of this paper is to critique Angelou’s credibility, sincerity, and appeal to her whole audience in her delivery during the Spelman Commencement Address in 1992.
According to the National Education Association, 98% of Latinas want to graduate high school, but only 59% actually do (Flannery). Being of Hispanic ethnicity and growing up in a predominately white town, I can say that I had the privilege to never feel this stat on my shoulders. Growing up in today’s day and age in a very good town, it is great to say that more than everyone I have come across in my school district has given me the benefit of the doubt and has always pushed me to be my very best. However, there are always the people that think that one is limited to what they can and cannot do, in my case they were wrong, and more often than not it’s the people that are least expected to put people down that do. Maya Angelou
Blacks in the United States have had to persistently fight against torture, racism, and segregation and still do. For years, in the United States people of color were not given the same rights as white men. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr., “Graduation” by Maya Angelou and “A Homemade Education” by Malcolm X, the authors discuss their experiences and fight against inequality. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Maya Angelou were just a few of the hundreds of thousands of blacks who restlessly fought for civil rights. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Maya Angelou showed that in the face of adversity to persevere you must always remain strong and steadfast if you wish to succeed. Even with Malcolm X and Maya
In “On the Pulse of Morning”, Angelou uses visual imagery and symbolism to argue that people must learn from the past to eliminate racial injustice in society today. The vivid descriptions found in the poem evoke feelings of injustice through the emotionally painful pictures that they paint. Americans as a whole are described in the poem to have “crouched too long in / The bruising darkness, [...] / Face down in ignorance” (“On the Pulse of Morning” 15-18). The speaker of the poem insinuates that “humans have been hiding, [...] afraid of what they might learn” from history (“On the Pulse of Morning”, 1998, 3: 276). The bestial visual of a person “crouching” takes away the humanity of the subjects, and the description of “bruising darkness” calls to mind the dark times of slavery over a hundred years prior. The image evokes a feeling that Americans have made terrible mistakes in the past that have not yet been corrected. They have committed terrible, animalistic acts in the blackened cover of history. These people refuse to look up and accept what has been done. The shadows of slavery and the pain caused by it are still ubiquitous in modern society, and if humans do not stop hiding from the truth, they cannot right the wrongs that have been committed. In order for the ignorance to end, people must accept the continuing prevalence of injustice. Not only does Angelou use detailed descriptions, but her use of symbolism allows the reader to see the injustice in society through