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Mom and Me and Mom

Maya Angelou

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

For the first time, Maya Angelou - one of America's most celebrated memoirists and poets - shares the deepest personal story of her life: the story of her relationship with her mother.

'In the first decade of the twentiety century, it was not a good time to be born black, or woman, in America.'

So begins this stunning portrait of Vivian Baxter Johnson: the first black woman officer in the Merchant Marines, purveyor of a gambling business and rooming house, and mother to one of our most cherished literary treasures.

Anyone who's read the classic, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, knows Maya Angelou was raised by her paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. In MOM & ME & MOM, Angelou details what brought her mother to send her away and unearths the well of emotions Angelou experienced long afterward as a result. While Angelou's six autobiographies tell of her out in the world, influencing and learning from statesmen and cultural icons, MOM & ME & MOM shares the intimate, emotional story about her own family.

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Maya Angelou

Dr Maya Angelou was one of the world's most important writers and activists. Born 4 April 1928, she lived and chronicled an extraordinary life: rising from poverty, violence and racism, she became a renowned author, poet, playwright, civil rights' activist - working with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King - and memoirist. She wrote and performed a poem, 'On the Pulse of Morning', for President Clinton on his inauguration; she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and was honoured by more than seventy universities throughout the world.

She first thrilled the world with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). This was followed by six volumes of autobiography, the seventh and final volume, Mom & Me & Mom, published in 2013. She wrote three collections of essays; many volumes of poetry, including His Day is Done, a tribute to Nelson Mandela; and two cookbooks. She had a lifetime appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University of North Carolina. Dr Angelou died on 28 May 2014.

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