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Listen&Learn: Maya Angelou

Posted by: Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about the famous poet and activist.
Maya Angelou
AI-generated depiction of Maya Angelou

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • activist: someone who fights for social change
  • trauma: emotional pain after a difficult experience
  • memoir: a book about the author’s life
  • occupation: a job
  • nightclub: a place where people go to dance and socialize late at night
  • journalist: someone who reports on current events

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Maya Angelou was an American and activist. She was born in Missouri in 1928, with the name Marguerite Johnson. When she was 3 years old, Angelou moved to Arkansas to live with her . During her childhood, trauma from a sexual assault caused her to stop for several years. She would later describe her difficult childhood in her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou had many occupations throughout her life. Before she became famous as a writer, she acted in and performed songs at nightclubs. Angelou also contributed to the American civil rights movement, working with activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. She even worked as a journalist in Egypt and Ghana. Throughout her life, Angelou published seven memoirs and fourteen collections. She died in 2014, at age 86.

Comprehension questions

See answers below

  1. Angelou was born in
    a. Arkansas
    b. Missouri
    c. Georgia
  2. In 1969, Angelou
    a. took her first acting role
    b. published her first memoir
    c. wrote her first poems
  3. In Egypt and Ghana, Angelou worked as
    a. a teacher
    b. a bookseller
    c. a journalist

Discussion/essay questions

  1. I Know Where the Caged Bird Sings has been praised for its honesty about racism and sexual violence, but it has also been challenged and censored. Why do you think this is? What are the effects of censorship?

Transcript

Maya Angelou was an American writer and activist. She was born in Missouri in 1928, with the name Marguerite Johnson. When she was 3 years old, Angelou moved to Arkansas to live with her grandmother. During her childhood, trauma from a sexual assault caused her to stop speaking for several years. She would later describe her difficult childhood in her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou had many occupations throughout her life. Before she became famous as a writer, she acted in plays and performed songs at nightclubs. Angelou also contributed to the American civil rights movement, working with activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. She even worked as a journalist in Egypt and Ghana. Throughout her life, Angelou published seven memoirs and fourteen poetry collections. She died in 2014, at age 86.

Answers to comprehension questions

1b 2b 3c

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub
© EnglishClub.com

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