Maya Angelou: About Letter to My Daughter

Maya Angelou: About Letter to My Daughter
By Laura Major

With women making the largest strides in the arenas of politics, education, entrepreneurship and business, no other time is more poignant for Letter to My Daughter, Maya Angelou's poetic tribute to the emotionally adopted daughters who have touched her life. In response to the question regarding the reason for her tribute, she was quoted, "I gave birth to one child–a son, but I have thousands of daughters." No doubt with this poetic volume, Dr. Angelou will garner many more female supporters happy to draw upon her maternal wisdom.

On September 11, 2008, the seventh anniversary of a very scary and profound time in US history, Dr. Maya Angelou met with Literary Publicist and CEO of EDC Creations Ella Curry to discuss her gift of poetry to the world's daughters. When Curry further asked about the book's inspiration, Dr. Angelou confided, "Well, this is my 80th year and I have been celebrating it all year long. And I realize that I have much less time ahead of me than I have behind and that I have learned some lessons and am in the process of learning some.
So I thought I would jot down some of the incidents, some events which took place in my life from which I drew great lessons."

Always a teacher and naturally so, Angelou had this to say, "In looking at that [my life's lessons], I didn't want to say which lessons I learned or what exactly I did with the lessons–solutions. Because I know that my readers are as intelligent and resourceful and they will read about one incident they will get one solution. They'll gather it and then six months later, if they read it again they will find another possible lesson to be learned. I know that is the way I do when I read other people's work...I hope that's what will happen to my readers."

Opening with a powerful letter to daughters everywhere, Angelou says in part, "My life has been long, and believing that life loves the liver of it, I have dared to try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring, still." As Curry accurately described, Dr. Angelou, "in the rhythm of her poetry and the elegance of her prose", expresses the numerous useful lessons in terms of the people she's met, the places she's been and the events of her life.

During the interview with Ms. Curry, one of the most awe-struck memories she shares is her friendship with Civil Rights Activist, Coretta Scott King. She says of their friendship, "I was brought to look at those events because a number of friends of mine have died recently and I thought back to Ms. King and how we were chosen sisters and how I miss her." Knowing the importance of grieving time but also knowing the need to celebrate the legacy our loves often leave for us, Dr. Angelo continued, "...I felt, 'Well maybe, maybe there's a way I can reduce the mourning, if I can go back to that life and see what their friendship did for me.'
And as I went back, I was disheartened, heartened, I was inspired because I had been thinking about their absence and not really about the fun we had and the lessons they taught me." Dr. Angelou goes on to describe how Ms. King's "stick-to-it-tiveness" has bolstered a lasting memory of her influential husband that may not have been more than "footnote in history" without Ms. King's tenacity.

Dr. Maya Angelou's Letter to My Daughter is packed with profound and inspirational gems designed to do what all faithful motherly advice does–educate, empower and empathize.


Since 2000, EDC Creations has partnered with community leaders, business owners, book clubs, publishers, book stores and authors to bring readers the best representation of quality literature. Here are just a few comments on our service to the community and the quality of our work. The most important moment in EDC Creations history was our Intimate Conversations Interview with Dr. Maya Angelou, which we have shared below.  Listen to the audio from the interview, fast forward to 13:30 for the interview.

Dr. Maya Angelou-September 11, 2008 interview, Give the Gift of Knowledge Program Ella Curry had the honor of interviewing Dr. Maya Angelou as EDC Creations kicked off the historic 2009 Give the Gift of Knowledge Program. This was the highlight of Ella Curry's professional career. So much so, she could barely speak as she introduced Dr. Angelou. The two of them discussed the release of Dr. Angelou's new book, Letter to My Daughter and some of the memories shared in the book. They even compared President Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Maya Angelou is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature and as a remarkable Renaissance woman. Being a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, Dr. Angelou continues to travel the world making appearances, spreading her legendary wisdom. A mesmerizing vision of grace, swaying and stirring when she moves, Dr. Angelou captivates her audiences lyrically with vigor, fire and perception.

EC: Dr. Maya Angelou, we are launching the Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign at EDC Creations. That's where we are trying to encourage parents to not so much buy those expensive toys out there and to give a book and to share our history and our knowledge with the children. In your book Letter to My Daughter, what kind of wisdom or advice do you share on parenting and with mothers?

Dr. A: Well, I don't know where in that book, I hope on every other page but being a parent is having such incredible power and can crush a person, you can crush his spirit, you can absolutely cripple her childhood, you can do it. Or on the other hand, if you just take time and realize that you are the most important person in that person's life. And soften your voice a little when you talk to him. Be a little kinder when you talk to her. See, they don't know–smaller people. Children don't know that life is kicking you in the behind. They don't understand that. And they don't understand that that's why you may be kicking them or ignoring them or even abandoning them. They don't know that. They simply know that you're everything.

EC: Yes.
Dr. A: And so to be a little kinder or a lot kinder for that matter to the children– to your children and to other people's children. And take the time to talk to them, don't ignore them–they have minds. And they need someone to say, "Good morning, how are ya...Looking nice over there." They need that. What I'd like to say is...I'd like to ask that all of us have a little more patience and be kinder to the children.

EC: A Pledge to Rescue Our Youth is my favorite displays of your passion for society, what inspired you to create that powerful message that empowers our community?

Dr. A: Well... actually, Susan Taylor. Ms Taylor, the editor and chief of Essence magazine, called me one day and asked, "Ms. Maya, please, do we have anything we can say to the youth? I want to put it online. I gonna put it out in the New Orleans at the Essence Jazz Festival." And I just wanted to say something. So I said I'd try. And I as usual prayed first and began to work on that pledge. And it is, I am happy to say, Target Company took it and put in almost every newspaper in the country and put it in their stores so that the customers could have copies of it. It's a blessing, that people in church, in fact in two churches I know, it was in the programs. And sometimes I wish they didn't just put in and then take it out. I wish they would just leave it in the programs. Anyway, it's there.

EC: Thank you so much for sharing that with us. It was an honor to have you with the Black Authors Network today, discussing your book Letter to My Daughter.

Dr. A: Thank you very much and please continue what you're doing. God bless your heart. Thank you.

About Laura Major: Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.