Making Magic In The World with Maya Angelou

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Weaving a tapestry of her life’s journey, Dr. Maya Angelou takes us on a journey from the Deep South to the heart of Africa and back again. This gifted storyteller poignantly shares the memories of those mentors and teachers who profoundly influenced her life. She speaks of her voluntary muteness as a child. Even in this silence, “Mama” (Angelou’s grandmother) spoke prophetically to the child’s unbelieving ears: “You’ll speak about the glorious nature of the human spirit and what we can be striving for.” She also shares with us her insight that courage is the greatest of all the virtues, “Without courage you can’t get to any other virtue with consistency. [You can’t be] kind, generous, open, or fair-minded without courage.” (hosted by Michael Toms)


Dr. Maya Angelou was a remarkable Renaissance woman and is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she traveled the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Angelou was awarded over fifty honorary degrees. She was the winner of many prestigious awards including: the Spingarn Medal in 1994, The National Medal of Arts in 2000, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. In the fall of 2016 a documentary film of her life, And Still I Rise, was released in theaters.

Maya Angelou was the author of many books including:

To learn more about the work of Dr. Angelou go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why courage is the most important virtue
  • Dr. Angelou’s childhood experience in Stamps, Arkansas as a voluntary mute
  • What she means by love as a condition so profound that it encourages us to develop courage
  • Mrs. Flowers, who encouraged Dr. Angelou to read
  • How poetry gave Dr. Angelou her voice back
  • When the president of the United States became Dr. Angelou’s president
  • What was the impact of the TV series “Roots” on American Culture
  • Her experience of the 1963 Civil Rights march on Washington, DC
  • Her experience of Malcolm X
  • The source of her inspiration and gratitude to live another day and contribute her gifts to life
  • How underneath so much violence and hatred is the great sin of ignorance
  • How the memory of rape still haunted her 40 years later

Host: Michael Toms              Interview Date: 4/3/1986           Program Number: 1983 

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