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Maya Angelou (Grade 8)

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Maya Angelou

For which of these was Maya Angelou known? (choose all that apply)
  1. actress
  2. author
  3. civil rights activist
  4. member of Congress
  5. poet
  6. TV chef
When and where was Maya Angelou born?
  1. Philadelphia, 1802
  2. St. Louis, 1928
  3. New York City, 1965
  4. Atlanta, 1992
What is the title of Maya Angelou's memoir, and why is the book significant?

From where does the title for Maya Angelou's bestselling memoir come?

In the 1940s, Maya Angelou became the first Black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco.
  1. True
  2. False
At whose inauguration ceremony did Maya Angelou recite one of her poems?
  1. Jimmy Carter, 1977
  2. Bill Clinton, 1993
  3. George W. Bush, 2005
  4. Barack Obama, 2009
Before his assassination, Maya Angelou became close with what civil rights activist?
  1. W.E.B. DuBois
  2. John Lewis
  3. Malcolm X
  4. Frederick Douglass
Read this excerpt from Maya Angelou's poem "On The Pulse Of Morning", and answer the questions that follow.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
Into your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.
Maya Angelou wrote this poem specifically to be read at a presidential inauguration. Why do you think it is appropriate for such an occasion?

What do you think Maya Angelou means when she writes these words?

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.

In what other parts of this excerpt does Maya Angelou refer to a new beginning for the nation?

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