When Did Maya Angelou Stop Talking

Maya Angelou, an iconic American neurolinguist, stopped talking at a young age due to a traumatic event in her childhood. Her biographer, Mark Matousek, reports that Angelou was “silenced at the age of seven” by a traumatic incident that left her mute for nearly five years. After years of isolation, Angelou developed an interest in writing, music and the arts and soon found an outlet for expression. These early experiences inspired her to speak out about the importance of speaking up and being heard.

For a long period of time, Angelou managed to remain silent, unable to vocalize any thoughts that she had worked diligently to put into words. This period of silence lasted until her late twenties when a friend encouraged her to break her silence, so she gradually returned to speaking. By the time she was in her thirties, Angelou was well on her way to being a public speaker and activist.

A major turning point in Angelou’s life was when she was invited to give a speech at her high school graduation ceremony. She had initially been asked to recite a poem, which she wrote and called “On the Pulse of Morning”. By the time she addressed the crowd at the graduation ceremony, she was finally speaking out in the way she had intended. Her speech was inspiring and heartfelt, becoming so popular that it was broadcast on national radio and television.

From then on, Angelou became a major public figure and has used her voice to support civil rights and address social injustice. Her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 and has inspired countless readers with its honest and heartfelt memoirs. It wasn’t until the later years of her life that Angelou stopped speaking publically, possibly due to her increasing age and the health-related issues she was facing.

Angelou had become known for her inspiring words and powerful voice, and when she stopped speaking in 2014, she became an icon for a generation that learned to take advantage of an individual’s power to use their voice. Though her physical voice had ceased, her verbal messages continue to live on and are just as powerful in the modern era.

The Lifetime of Silence

For much of Maya Angelou’s life, she wasn’t able to talk due to a traumatic event that occurred in her childhood. This experience led to her silence and many years of struggling. During this time, Maya was able to find solace within herself and promptly found an outlet for expression. Through becoming a public figure and an activist, Angelou was able to reclaim her voice and speak out on issues she felt strongly about.

The time spent in silence by Angelou allowed her to clearly focus on her emotions and better articulate herself which eventually paid off. She was ultimately able to express her feelings on issues she was passionate about and speak up for those who felt unheard. After having spent numerous years in silence, Angelou was able to reach a wider audience and make a difference through her powerful words.

Furthermore, her notion of integrity and moral strength helped her navigate through her silent years and spoke to a generation that were experiencing similar difficulties. Angelou was able to demonstrate the power of being open and honest and how one’s voice can make an impact. As a result, many were motivated to follow in Angelou’s footsteps, as she was an inspiration for those who sought improvement and guidance.

Seeing Angelou’s resilience and standing united and composed during her silent years, serves as a testament of courage that many relate to. As Angelou stated “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud,” she was able to not just provide guidance, but she was also able to spark hope in a generation of people during her time of silence.

The Power of Words

Maya Angelou’s words still have immense power to this day, despite her silence in 2014. Her honest and meaningful statements have become universal and have remained strong, resonating with many people. Angelou’s memoirs, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” not only served as a guide to the silent and unheard, but was also able to create a space where the exclusive and the neglected could join to spread their voice. The power of Angelou’s words made her a symbol for a generation of people to express themselves.

Angelou was also a representation of courage and wisdom for those who experienced hardship, which can be reflected in her statement, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Through this thought, many have come to understand the importance of language, reflecting Angelou’s impact on a generation.

In addition, Angelou’s words have been characteristically universal, speaking to many over the years. Through her poems, speeches, and books, she extracted a collective understanding that is able to speak to each generation, as her words remained true to each of them. By being able to touch each era, she was able to provide strength and guidance.

In her later years, Angelou dedicated her work to the spiritual aspects of life, providing direction for many to look within themselves for guidance. In the same way she found comfort in her silent years, she advocated for others to do the same, and although her physical voice has stopped, her words still echo loudly within many.

A Legacy of Strength

Maya Angelou’s legacy is one of strength and courage, as she was able to stand in the face of hardship and fight against the odds. After her physical voice stopped, observers reflect an unprecedented strength that Angelou was able to possess. She was able to articulate her powerful message with grace and sincerity, creating a blueprint for many to follow in her footsteps.

Through Maya Angelou’s silent years, she was able to come back and better convey her message, fulfilling her expectations and showing a world a strength that was undaunted. This strength was the main influence behind her messages, her speeches and her entire life, as she was able to successfully work through her hardship and eventually reclaim her voice.

Through Angelou’s life, she was able to make a name for herself, as she became an icon of resilience, courage and strength. Her work and her presence are felt through subsequent generations, demonstrating her power of courage and her knack for words. It was through her courage to overcome her silence that she is able to give strength to generations still today.

Achievement Through Silence

Maya Angelou’s time of silence, while difficult, ultimately helped define her truth and her legacy. By speaking out and connecting with the past, she was able to give insight to a generation with a new level of comprehension, which was unforeseen before. Her words of wisdom, which were birthed from her silent years, gave a new meaning to the notion of strength and perseverance.

Although her physical voice ultimately silenced, she continues to speak to generations through her books and all that she has accomplished. Angelou has become a symbol for a generation, as her words were able to provide understanding and compassion, which ultimately helped a struggling individual. Angelou’s necessity for silence served as a steppingstone for many, as it demonstrated her capabilities of speaking out her truth even after significant hardship.

Angelou’s wisdom and eloquence are inspirational to many. She was able to give oomph to many who faced difficulty and lack of voice and reminded them to re-invent their existence with the power of their words. As many become inspired by Angelou, her words will continue to live on, speaking louder than ever before, despite the physical silence.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

Leave a Comment