Maya Angelou Analysis

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Maya Angelou: Commencement at Spelman College Tawada English Pensacola State College Introduction/Summary “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. Credibility: Why Do We Believe Her? Maya Angelou is a very well educated and well known black woman. She studied at California Labor School and was appointed Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University (Maya Angelou: Poet and Historian, n.d.). In giving her speech at Spelman College, a predominantly black school, she was very well qualified for the occasion. It is no secret that Angelou participated in the Civil Rights Movement, she was a teacher, a successful writer, and a national figure. According to Thill and Bovee (2015), “Successful communication relies on a positive relationship between sender and receiver”
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