At only eight years old, Maya Angelou was raped. The legal system convicted the man, but he was released from jail – and four days later he was murdered, presumably by Maya’s uncles.
But what happened to Maya?
For years, Maya stopped speaking – believing her words had led to the man’s death. She didn’t know how to talk about her pain, so she bottled it up inside her, becoming a ghost of who she once was.
When Maya was 13, a kind teacher, Bertha Flowers, took an interest in her. She encouraged Maya to read and write poetry, until one day, she suggested Maya read a poem out loud.
Terrified, Maya began reading the poem shakily, but once she started she couldn’t stop! Her voice poured out of her – and after five years she was finally free.
Today, as we raise Black children we must provide them with a safe environment and the necessary tools to talk about trauma, especially since white supremacy works to silence them.
Maya Angelou grew up to be a renowned activist, poet, and public speaker. She used her written works, like “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” to continue with her healing journey.
We’re all impacted by trauma: white supremacy is built on it. But like Maya Angelou, we must be honest about our pain, take time to heal, and then move forward and thrive!