Women’s History Month (Week Two)

March 8, 2018

The Counseling Corner

By Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min. M.Th

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

Women’s History Month, according to the National Library of Congress, honors and celebrates the struggles and achievements of American women throughout the history of the United States. American women have struggled throughout our history to gain rights, not simply for themselves, but for the many other underrepresented and disenfranchised groups in America. In President Reagan’s Presidential Proclamation in 1982, he noted:

American women of every race, creed and ethnic background helped found and build our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways…As leaders in public affairs, American women not only worked to secure their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity but also were principal advocates in the abolitionist, temperance, mental health reform, industrial labor and social reform movements, as well as the modern civil rights movement.

Since President Reagan’s Proclamation, March has been designated as Women’s History Month and annual Presidential Proclamations are issued to recognize the achievements of women in history. Join us this week as we celebrate Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson Angelou on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, MO. When Angelou was three years old, her parents’ marriage ended and her father sent Angelou and her brother, Bailey, to Stamps, AR to live with her paternal grandmother. A few years later, Angelou’s father returned the children to their mother’s care in St. Louis. In St. Louis, Angelou was abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend. When the man was murdered by her uncles for his crime, Angelou felt so responsible she stopped talking. Angelou remained mute for five years, but developed a love for language. She read black authors like Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Angelou grew from an insecure little girl to a strong woman who realized that she could trust herself and would be able to keep moving forward. Angelou joined the Harlem Writer’s Guild on the advice of her friend, James Baldwin, and one day sat down and wrote her life story, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In this book, Angelou painted a picture of a childhood that was full of racial prejudice and family member crime. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings became a literary masterpiece and Angelou won numerous honors, including two NAACP Image Awards for outstanding literary work (non-fiction) category. Angelou went on to fulfill the role of inaugural poet for President Bill Clinton’s 1993 Inauguration.

Maya Angelou, a poet and civil rights activist, was the mother of one son, Guy Johnson. She published “seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.”1

1 Source: Wikipedia

Next Week: Continuation

The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in this article, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. This information is for educational purposes only. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.