Opression in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and James McBride’s Color of Water

1965 Words 8 Pages
Oppression is exercising power in an unjust or cruel manner toward a specific group of people. Throughout the history of the United States and Global history, many religious groups, women, and ethnic groups have been targeted. These groups were especially targeted during the early twentieth century. Martin Luther King, an active Civil Rights Leader, wrote about the ways these people worked to end oppression for themselves and groups of people in his book, Strides toward Freedom. He says there are three ways people respond to oppression; they are acceptance of their own doom, non-violent actions and a violent response. Overall, he emphasizes community involvement, working together and dropping racial barriers as the solution to oppression. In Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and James McBride’s Color of Water, Maya Angelou and Ruth McBride Jordan face similar challenges; Maya Angelou faces segregation and internal oppression and Ruth McBride faces segregation, gender and religious oppression. Through their struggles, these two women strive to make a difference in their lives against oppression; they effectively use family and friends to move past their intrapersonal oppression, as well as strong community, to face societal oppression. Both women also work to break racial barriers and work for equality non-violently.
Through a strong support system Maya develops a strong family and friend relationships that assist her in developing her confidence against her…