As I re-read Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings recently, I remembered the fourteen-year-old eighth-grader I was who could relate to Dr. Angelou’s childhood dream of a magic, silk dress that a girl could wear to finally make people see and know her true beauty, a dress that would make everyone sorry they ever called her anything but beautiful.
I would learn, along with Dr. Angelou, there wasn’t any such dress — but there was the magic of a mother’s love that could make any enemy retreat.
Dr. Angelou’s latest book, Mom & Me & Mom, (which provides a striking new insight when read alongside, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) is a tribute to the unconditional love of her mother, Lady Vivian Baxter, and the unconditional love Dr. Angelou learned to have for her mom, much later on in life.
At 85 years old, Dr. Angelou confessed to me that she’d tried to write this book years ago but never could. Though she and Lady Baxter had shared a close relationship since Dr. Angelou had returned to live with her mother as a teenager until the time of Lady Baxter’s passing in 1991, Dr. Angelou still struggled with truly forgiving the mother who abandoned her at three years old on her grandmother’s steps in Stamps, Arkansas.
But a year and a half ago, she finally knew: “It was time.”
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