Maya Angelou’s magnum opus, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is a stunning memoir of a Black childhood in 1930s and 40s America. Angelou’s raw, unflinching narrative tells the story of racism and abuse but also hope and strength in the face of ugly hate. It is uncomfortable to read at times and, as such, bears the dubious distinction of being one of the most banned books in America.
Mason City, Iowa’s school libraries are the latest to remove the seminal work from shelves, owing in part to a recently passed “educational reform bill” and the use of ChatGPT to identify works with objectionable material as defined by the new law.
MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi welcomes back author and Harvard Professor of African American Studies Imani Perry to discuss Angelou’s legacy, her impact on literature, and how I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings reveals how she became the icon she is today and what it says about the Black experience in America.
Listen to Ali’s interview with Imani Perry:
Watch Velshi and Perry:
Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
MORE ON BANNED BOOKS FROM THE CITIZENAli Velshi and Imani Perry discuss Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings