The caged bird sang about a little black girl’s pathway to a life of impact. Maya was a speechless child filled with a guilt that was not hers, with a shoulder too young to carry the weight of difference that insidious racism injects. Observing the cotton-pickers as they journey to and from work in the fields from Momma’s store was like the epoch of her creative life. Brother Bailey stuck to her despite her battered sense of self; it was as though he knew what the world will miss if Maya never found the courage to speak, to dance and write in words that will glitter forever.
Maya shared the story of a fragile world that groomed her into strength. Stories of constantly changing homes harbouring memories of violence between the lovely bones, nights in the junkyards, life as the female car conductor and a teen mother, all of this made the caged bird sing.
Thinking through the title of this book always made me understand the beauty of FREEDOM. Everything can never be taken from us. Freedom is when birds sing even in a cage; they do not have to fly to believe they are free.
Travelling through the pages of this book as a young girl and reflecting on the life of the author Maya Angelou, I grew. I understand that if you follow your anger, it will show you your fight. If you let pain do its work, your spirit will grow.
Dear Maya, you were a Spiritual Giant; the world got better because you came, you danced, you spoke, you wrote and you lived. Today we mourn you like widows of a worthy man. May death be to you as beautiful as life was, sleep sweet my woman with the scattered brain.
Written by~ Adaobi Nkeokelonye