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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Presentation

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Elise Geschardt

on 4 December 2014

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Transcript of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Presentation

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Elise Geschardt, Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, Carly Langan, Anna Tracy, Lauren Ross and Abby Kaija

How can literature and art promote awareness and educate society about social injustice?

Book Reviews
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
"Through the many strong women Angelou wrote into this novel, including her grandmother, her mother, her teachers, and even Maya herself, she works into her personal story about the trouble of her childhood the true strength and beauty of women who take charge. The ladies in the leading roles of
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
forge their own paths through the troubled and turbulent times they are stuck in, and bring to life in Maya a feeling of self assurance and self worth that transcends from her to the reader. They all communicate the message that no woman can be stopped in her journey for happiness and self fulfillment, and these lingering thoughts made me feel empowered and proud to be a girl at the closing of the novel.
Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, Author of
Where God Went Wrong
by Maya Angelou
This book was the first of Angelou's seven book autobiographical series.
"The amazing eloquence of Maya Angelou's words, while reflecting and retelling stories of her traumatic childhood, is so eye-opening it makes you rethink your actions in life. She speaks to the hard and brutal truth of being a black girl trying to find herself in the 1930's."

~ Abby Kaija-
We Read, We Review, We Steal Things Weekly

Growing from the sorrows of Yesterday

Learning is had once here and once there,
But without truth in books, we all face despair.

A book of such pain and hatred is expressed,
Until you see cruelty, you cannot feel blessed.

For education will guide us straight to the truth,
But until then, we must stress fairness upon youth.

Maya is faced with a world full of pains,
Trapped within racism’s discriminant chains.

From place to place, with no knowledge of “home”
She longs for fairness, while she moves and she roams.

For once in her life she wants fits in,
But instead she is hated for the color of her skin.

A small little child, so harmless and fair,
The actions taken upon her, are some no one would dare.

Innocence taken from under her feet,
In her mind the actions were nothing but sweet.

We learn from her pains, and the terror of rape,
And racisms grasp that has no escape.

Racism can be expressed in many cold ways,
How hard is it to express our love and our praise?

Till one’s had treatment of such immoral brutality,
True sadness cannot be a living reality.

To be outcasts for something so out of control,
It shall weaken your heart and devastate your soul

We can grow from their pains and learn from their sorrows,
And from there we can have better tomorrow.

I Learn from her Ways

I know what she feels when she drops her head.
When they look at her in despicable ways.
When her most powerful thought is left unsaid,
And she wonders if change is coming these days.

I’ve learned why she’s quiet through pain and through strife.
Why she hold her tongue and blames only herself.
Why she’s content with living this terrible life.
And will sacrifice the demise of her once good health.

She pushes through pains others dare not see.
She rises above, when others would fall.
She strives day and night for the time when she’s free.
She walks big and strong, when others would crawl.

The book is strong, and forever a truth.
It can teach us new ways of living our lives,
And stress onto others the importance of youth.
And show how others have fought and survived.
Young black children stand outside the fence of a whites-only fair.

- "Ayohcee." : I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Blogger, 3 June 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

Quotes From I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
"Because I was really white and because a cruel fairy stepmother, who was understandably jealous of my beauty, had turned me into a too-big Negro girl, with nappy black hair, broad feet and a space between her teeth that would hold a number-two pencil. " (Angelou 2-3)
"A light shade had been pulled down between the Black community and all things white, but one could see through it enough to develop a fear-admiration-contempt for the white “things”—white folks’ cars and white glistening houses and their children and their women. But above all, their wealth that allowed them to waste was the most enviable." (Angelou 49)
"The three of us were crowded on the small landing, 'Annie, my policy is I'd rather stick my hand in a dog's mouth than in a nigger's.'" (Angelou 189)
Angelou discusses the hardships of her childhood, and the struggle to overcome racism.
"Bailey was talking so fast he forgot to stutter, he forgot to scratch his head and clean his fingernails with his teeth. He was away in a mystery, locked in the enigma that young Southern Black boys start to unravel, start to try to unravel, from seven years old to death. The humorless puzzle of inequality and hate." (Angelou 198)
"This marvelous book captured the segregation which diseased the United States during the twentieth century. Through her story, Maya, the author revealed the struggles of a young black girl growing up in a time of racism."

-Anna Tracey,
The Christian Post
"It was awful to be Negro and have no control over my life. It was brutal to be young and already trained to sit quietly and listen to charges brought against my color with no chance of defense." (Angelou 180)
- "A Leonine Voice." A Leonine Voice. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
Even as a very young child, Maya struggled with racism and its effects on her family. At first it was something Maya angrily tolerated, but as she grew she fought for change and acceptance.
Throughout this memoir Maya continues to mention that she is self conscious of her appearance. She defies a belief taught to her early in childhood that beauty is only on the outside. Later learns that beauty has no shade and it lives on the inside.
The struggles a person endures defines who they are. At a young age Maya suffered through rape and was caught in a state of childhood and womanhood. Later her struggling sexuality causes her to question the world around her. Eventually she becomes pregnant and must face her fears and tell her mother. Maya's identity was shaped by her hardships.
Separation of Family and Abandonment
From being tossed around from family to family, shipped to different corners of the country, and dealing with the abandonment of her parents, Maya is left with emotional and metal scars that she carries with her as she grows up in times of turbulence and hate.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
delves into these issues and illustrates the real hardships of being left out to dry over and over again
A Change is Gonna Come
Performed by Otis Redding
This song was written and released by Sam Cooke in 1964, and went on to be performed by several other talented artists like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, and many others. The song A Change is Gonna Come came to represent the struggle of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, while inspiring the people of the time to fight for change.
Strange Fruit
by Billie Holiday
Unlike A Change is Gonna Come, Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit is rather morbid and sickening. By creating a beautifully dark song to describe the awfuls ways of society during the early to mid-1900’s, Holiday became one of the first well known African American artists to use their talent to inspire change.
Keep Ya Head Up
by 2pac
In Tupac’s song Keep Ya Head Up, he mainly focuses on the social injustices towards women, but while also touching on racism. Through this song Tupac brings hope to those that are suffering and inspires change in our society.
Today in music, one can find more call to the social injustices towards women. A very good example of this is Beyonce’s new album Yonce; especially in her song Flawless. In the song Beyonce points out the unfair labels and expectations of women in our society, and uses her music to call for change in the way women are viewed by opposite sexes and by themselves. Due to inappropriate content and lack of a real and good quality version of the song on YouTube I cannot show you the song.

- "Otis Redding - A Change Is Gonna Come (lyrics)." YouTube. YouTube, 28 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
- "Here’s The Beyoncé Essay That Everyone’s Talking About: ‘Gender Equality Is A Myth’." StyleCaster. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
- "Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit." YouTube. YouTube, 25 Nov. 2006. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
- "Tupac - Keep Ya Head Up *Lyrics." YouTube. YouTube, 30 July 2008. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
In New Orleans in 1960 six-year old Ruby Bridges is escorted by Deputy Marshals from her school. She attends William Frantz Elementary school where she is the the only black student.
Elizabeth Eckford tries to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Yet when she reaches the school she is met by jeers and National Guard troops who force her to turn back.
The separate and unequal facilities popular across the Nation during the twentieth century. They represented the segregation and racism which intoxicated our nation.
Black Children Standing outside fence of Fair. Digital image. Messynessychic. N.p., 16 Jan. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
Little Rock. Digital image. America.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
Segregated facilities. Digital image. African American Policy Forum. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
The U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Digital image. America.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
“At some point in our lives, we all face a deep and terrifying sensation of vulnerability. Maya Angelou addresses that inexpressible feeling, and is able to represent it in a way that puts you under the interpretation that you are there with the characters. While expressing the horrors of rape, she also addresses the innocence of children. This novel will influence a whole new side of you, and will truly help you to understand rape and racism through the eyes of someone who felt it first hand.”

~Carly Langan,
What's Life, and Where Did All These Books Come From? Illustrated

"In this book, Angelou uses the English language to beautifully portray the struggles and successes of her life.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
is a perfect example of how all authors should write, and is truly an American classic."

- Elise Geschardt,
What is Life? Illustrated
If you can't read, it's going to be hard to realize dreams.
Booker T. Washington
Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at the sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.
Zora Neale Hurston

No man may make another free.
Zora Neale Hurston

Many of the artists who have represented Negro life have seen only the comic, ludicrous side of it, and have lacked sympathy with and appreciation for the warm big heart that dwells within such a rough exterior.
Henry Ossawa Tanner

I will preach with my brush.
Henry Ossawa Tanner

Literature and art can promote awareness and educate society about social injustice by being beautiful and able to draw in the viewer or listener, and then portraying the message directly. Only with the combination of these two things can artists and writers be truly successful in making people more aware of social injustices. By turning
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
into a movie, we could not only create a beautiful piece of art; we could make a real difference and awareness in our society.
"Famous Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
African American artists and authors have bring bringing to attention the issues of social injustice for years and years, and can communicate their feelings through truly beautiful masterpieces by using visual representations and using the written and spoken word. Society can easily learn from these people, they just have to be open minded enough to recognize education when they see it.
The way Maya Angelou writes strikes chords and opens eyes, and relieves the reality of social injustice to each reader.
"In regards to Maya's years spent in the junkyard. There have been speculations. I too have spent time in a junkyard and I can say with confidence that living that loosely does bring with it revelations regarding the human race and hygiene. Maya's time there reflected her newer way of thinking throughout the remainder of the memoir, that there are people worth knowing of every background, and the only thing limiting contact and acceptance between them are social constructs. I wish I learned that instead of how to deep fry baby shrimp, but that's another tale."
-Lauren Ross, author of
I Didn't Bathe for Weeks
Self Image
These are sculptures from David Newton's Freedmen Memorial Park. They are a tribute to the African holocaust (slavery) and the people who endured it. Art can promote a somber message of injustice and speak for itself.
As the saying goes "a photo is worth a thousand words". Photography can capture emotion and the social injustice without any bias. It portrays the issues of segregation and racism and invoke people to make a change. Photos have no language barrier and they are able to spread issues across the world with no limitations.
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