Wednesday, May 28, 2014

a free bird leaps.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was required reading back in school. At the time, I read for pleasure, on my own, and rarely enjoyed the books assigned in class.

I fell in love with her prose and her ability to write about monstrous things with such poetry. My family is from the south (Memphis and Mississippi) and we are white. Given the times, I'm pretty sure racism and exploitation was deep in my roots. I struggle with this often. Angelou's memoir opened my eyes a bit. Reconciling atrocities with your own blood is a hard thing. But it has to be done. I am not a racist, but I did grow up in a mostly white town and now live in Seattle. While it's still a fairly racially divided city, my husband and I chose to live where we do because when our child goes to school, she will see many races, ethnicities, and religions. This is of far greater importance than test scores, in my opinion. Dr. Angelou was the first to instill that value in me.

I will be sure that this illustrated poem, Life Doesn't Frighten Me, will be on my daughter's bookshelf.

This woman, this writer, this activist, this poet, this warrior, this legend, this life, will be missed.