“Angelou was little known outside the theatrical community until “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which might not have happened if writer James Baldwin hadn’t persuaded Angelou, still grieving over King’s death, to attend a party at the home of Jules Feiffer, a cartoonist and writer. Feiffer was so taken by Angelou that he mentioned her to Random House editor Bob Loomis, who persuaded her to write a book by daring her into it, saying that it was “nearly impossible to write autobiography as literature.”
“Well, maybe I will try it,” Angelou responded. “I don’t know how it will turn out. But I can try.” (Excerpt from an A.P. article)
And the rest, as they say, is history. Aren’t we lucky that she dared to try?
What a book title, too. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Beautiful, powerful, resonant. As she was.
“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace,” said her son, Guy Johnson.
She dared to sing her song, and out of the cage she flew.