: When Maya Angelou, in the '60s—I want to say ’61 or so—went to Egypt, went to Cairo, with Vus Make, her then-husband—and it was a kind of common-law husbandry. They were in Cairo, the relationship ended, and she went to Ghana. When she went to Ghana, Ghana was exciting. W. E. B. Du Bois was there. There's a woman in the film, Alice Windom, who’s a sociologist now but was her roommate in Ghana. And they got together, and they found out that Malcolm X was coming. And Malcolm X wanted to get an African country to bring a charge of genocide against the United States. And all of the people from America who were there, the blacks from America, got together and supported him and talked with him and protested and went into the United Nations and went into the embassies to discuss this. And so, it was during that time that they met and talked about the ideologies that he had and became close. And they really became close. And Guy Johnson also had some time with Malcolm X. And so, for that amount of time, they spent that together. And she was, as you say, coming back to the United States to work with him.
: The Freedom Riders, excuse me. And so, Guy Johnson tells this amazing story of a protest that he and his mother were part of. And the police came in on horseback. It was very intimidating, as you can imagine. And so, the crowds parted, and they slowly were getting people away. But Maya Angelou and her son Guy held ground with about five other people.
Although a poet and dramatist, Ms. Angelou is dedicated to the art of biography. She has written five biographical works, the first of which is . The book was nominated for the National Book Award. Her books are widely read and taught at schools and universities today.
I asked an African-American colleague to read this poem out loud to my students. Not only did she appreciate this opportunity, but the emotion and power of her reading made “Still I Rise” come alive for my students.
Students read biographical information on Maya Angelou and her poem, "Still I Rise." Students identify support and elaboration in poem, then respond by either writing a letter to the author or his/her own poem in response.
: Maya Angelou’s grandson, Colin Johnson, along with Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack, co-directors of the new film, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. I spoke to them last month at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. We continue with the conversation in a moment.
: That was Maya Angelou speaking in 2006 at Coretta Scott King’s funeral. Last month at the Sundance Film Festival, I sat down with Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules, the producers and co-directors of the new documentary, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, as well as Maya Angelou’s grandson, Colin Johnson.
: Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack, co-directors of the new film, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. I spoke to them at the Sundance Film Festival along with Maya Angelou’s grandson, Colin Johnson. When we come back, we’ll talk to them about Maya Angelou and Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as Malcolm X, and the effect of their assassinations on her life, and much more. Stay with us.
: Now, setting up this clip from this little-known part of Maya Angelou’s life, the time when she was a calypso singer, interspersed with her singing and performing, you have Diahann Carroll speaking.
: Now, even before she meets all these legendary figures, she had a child. She had a baby. Colin, you are her baby’s baby. You are Guy Johnson’s son, Colin. Talk about Maya Angelou as a young, single mother, the decisions she made, the stories you told in your family, how she ended up having your dad, Guy.
. Describes Angelou's stage debut and concludes with her return from the international tour of Porgy and Bess.
. Depicts a totally mature Maya Angelou.
: Well, Bayard Rustin had been with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he was leaving. And he had been—Maya Angelou had become known, because in the early ’60s she had decided—once she heard him speak at Riverside Church, she had decided that they would—she would get together with a group of artists and that they would put on a play to raise money for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. So, she did that, and it was called Cabaret for Freedom. I believe it played at The Village Gate. And—
. This first part of her autobiographical work documents the life of Marguerite Johnson, (Maya Angelou) growing up with her brother Bailey in Arkansas.
Last month, during the Sundance Film Festival, I sat down with the co-producers and directors of the film, Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules, as well as Maya Angelou’s grandson, Colin Johnson. I began by asking Rita for a thumbnail sketch of Maya Angelou’s life.