Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in 1928. As a young child she lived in California, Missouri, and Stamps, Arkansas. Young Marguerite called Stamps her home. When Maya was three and her brother four, they were sent to Stamps, Arkansas to live with her father’s mother, Mrs. Annie Henderson.
Maya and her brother called their grandmother Momma. She owned a general store and often smelled of the items she sold such as: oranges and onions, etc. Maya and her brother learned how to sell merchandise as soon as they were old enough.
On Saturdays the town’s people gathered to exchange news on the front porch, or barbers would cut their client’s hair. It was a busy place. Maya and her brother played and read together. At times, they would act out their favorite stories by Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Allan Poe.
When Maya was eight she and her brother, Bailey moved to St. Louis, Missouri to live with their mother. Maya remembers, “She was too beautiful to have children . . . she was like the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” They remained in St. Louis for only a short period of time because their mother could not provide for them. Although she did what she could, it was not good enough. It was in St. Louis that Maya experienced a painful ordeal. Because of this experience, she decided to take a vow of silence. For one year she spoke to no one except to her brother. Then one day she met Mrs. Flowers who was shopping at grandmother’s store. It was from Mrs. Flowers that Maya learned that “words mean more than what is set down on paper.”
The following are a list of suggested lessons designed to meet the previously stated objectives.