Angelou Maya is one such powerful woman whose poems portray the true status of women in the ancient America. Born into slavery in the United States of America, the poet had the first hand experience of what it took to be a slave in the nation between 18th and 20th Centuries. It was pity, shame, and a curse from on high to be woman, whether black or white, in the great land of opportunity and freedom that America was. However, this is not the case with the present day America; women long rose up from a dehumanizing slavery to assume their new befitting positions in the American society through revolutionary struggles. The aim of this paper therefore is to discuss the dynamic roles of the female as portrayed by African American poet, Angelou Maya.
As revealed in Angelou Maya’s poem, “Woman Work”, it is apparent that women were just but slaves confined within their homes or those of their masters in the American society. Contemporary issues related to the public governance were kept out of their reach and mind. It goes without saying that women were not regarded as legitimate members of the civil societies and the few who could dare step forward were mainly from influential families such as Abigail Adams- wife of the second United States President John Adams. For the rest of the women, the only honorable thing they could do was to keep homes and perform all manner of domestic chores such tending to children, mending clothes, domestic and household cleaning, farm work, pick cotton, and care for the sick.
As indicated in her poem “Woman Work”, Angelou Maya also reveals in finer details how women were disregarded outside their homes or those of their masters in which they were confined. The laborious works in the open fields were no fun either; working out in the bad weather for hours without taking any form of shelter away from the fierce storms; scorching heat of the sun, stormy rainfall and snowflakes was a commonplace for the poor lot. Nevertheless, the trend was even worse for the African American women, of whom Angelou was one. Slavery was the common denominator for all women in the United States of America notwithstanding age, race, nationality and religion, or political affiliation. Women were openly discriminated against in public places on the basis that they were lesser being compared to their male counterparts.