Mary Angelou, Listen and Observe

Situations and circumstances in our lives expose the very best of our gifts. Usually those situations are not preferable but for the many legendary people, such hurtful situations had to happen for them to tell their story.


Mary Angelou (1928 – 2014) was a multi-talented woman who was an author, actress, screenwriter, dancer and poet. Mary Angelou had a terrible experience during her early childhood. Most people think that many legendary people became great because they came from a well-established background but this is unlike Mary Angelou. Firstly, her parents’ marriage ended when she was at the age of 3 and she and her brother had to go and live with her grandmother. Four years later, her father came and took them to stay with Mary’s mother. Mary’s mother was dating a guy named Freeman and this guy hurt Mary so bad.


Freeman raped Mary and she told her brother about this incident. The brother told the uncles who reported the matter to the police. Freeman was jailed for only one day and four days after his release, he was murdered probably by the uncles. This terrible incident in Mary’s life traumatized her to the extent that she became mute for almost five years. During this phase, Mary Angelou developed her extraordinary memory, her love for books and literature, and her ability to listen and observe the world around her.


Listening and observing the world around her brought out a magnificent gift in her of writing which was later on seen when she wrote books such as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. However, we do not celebrate her being raped but we celebrate her ability to listen and observe. This is a crucial stage in identifying your gift. Hurtful things happen in our lives but it is always about how we react to them. Sometimes we are found being so helpless in such situations but we should never give up on life.

Editor: Tinotenda Chisanduro View Profile

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