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Maya Angelou: six key works


From memoirs to poems, here are some must-reads from the late American author and poet

The first of her seven books of autobiography has been an inspirational bestseller. It covers the years from three to 16, beginning when her parents send her and her brother away to live with their grandparents. The young Maya endures racism, poverty and rape by her mothers lover; after the rapist is killed, she becomes mute, but later discovers a love of books and her own voice through an inspirational mentor, and becomes the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. The title comes from a line in African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbars poem Sympathy - the birds song is a prayer for freedom.

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