All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes

( 21 )

Overview

In 1962 the poet, musician, and performer Maya Angelou claimed another piece of her identity by moving to Ghana, joining a community of "Revolutionist Returnees" inspired by the promise of pan-Africanism. All God's Children Need Walking Shoes is her lyrical and acutely perceptive exploration of what it means to be an African American on the mother continent, where color no longer matters but where American-ness keeps asserting itself in ways both puzzling and heartbreaking. As it builds on the personal ...

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Overview

In 1962 the poet, musician, and performer Maya Angelou claimed another piece of her identity by moving to Ghana, joining a community of "Revolutionist Returnees" inspired by the promise of pan-Africanism. All God's Children Need Walking Shoes is her lyrical and acutely perceptive exploration of what it means to be an African American on the mother continent, where color no longer matters but where American-ness keeps asserting itself in ways both puzzling and heartbreaking. As it builds on the personal narrative of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name, this book confirms Maya Angelou’s stature as one of the most gifted autobiographers of our time. 

This is the fifth volume in Maya Angelou's successful autobiography.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An important document drawing more much-needed attention to the hidden history of a people both African and American." —Los Angeles Times Book Review

"This is a superb account by a great woman who has embraced a difficult destiny with rare intelligence and infectious joie de vivre." —The Boston Globe 

"Maya Angelou regards the world and herself with intelligence and wit; she records the events of her life with style and grace." —The Washington Post Book World 

"Angelou's journey into Africa is a journey into herself, into that part of every Afro-American's soul that is still wedded to Africa, that still yearns for a home." —Chicago Tribune Book World 

Los Angeles Times Book Review
Thoroughly enjoyable...an important document drawing more much-needed attention to the hidden history of a people both African and American.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To read Angelou's book, the latest in a series of autobiographical works begun with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, without being moved would seem impossible. Here, this American poet, actress, civil rights activist and TV producer-director recalls her pilgrimage to Ghana in the early 1960s. Ostensibly, Angelou went there so that her son could study at the University of Ghana to put him (and herself) in touch with long-imagined ancestral roots. Sadly, she was disillusioned by the subtle rejection of native Ghanaians. Fighting this painful sense of not belonging, she plunged into activities; appearing in Genet's play The Blacks with black American performers, she went briefly to Berlin, where she underwent a searing experience dining in the home of a wealthy crypto-Nazi German. Other encounters, even the more pleasurable ones, hardly mitigate the homesickness and hurt underlying Angelou's poignant recall, which includes a meeting with Malcolm X and her visit to a village where, centuries ago, black men sold other black men, women and children to white slave traders. First serial to Essence.
Library Journal
The fifth volume of her compelling autobiography finds Angelou in Ghana, five years after its independence from Britain. Kwame Nkrumah is Ghana's beloved ruler, and there is a sense of pride in the new country. Angelou joins a group of black Americans who have come to Ghana to be part of the great experiment. The book details her experiences within that community and as a black American confronting complex feelings in Africa, the land from which her ancestors were sold into slavery—possibly by other tribes. Angelou also writes of her emotions as a mother watching her son Guy grow to manhood. Angelou's insight and honesty about herself, and the light she sheds on emerging Africa and the American black community, make for absorbing reading.
—Janet Boyarin Blundell, M . L . S . , Brookdale Community Coll., Lincroft, N.J.
School Library Journal
Angelou continues the candid chronicle of her life in this fifth volume of her autobiography which began with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Random, 1970). In the early '60s, Angelou worked at the university in Ghana and became involved with the community of Africans and black Americans. Students of African history will find a wealth of information and penetrating impressions of the proud, optimistic new country. Students of American history will learn first-hand of the opinions and feelings of black Americans who, living through the racial crisis of the '60s, came to Africa in search of their historical, spiritual and psychological home. Maya's own journey is at the center of the narrative, however, and readers will appreciate the candor with which she relates her conflicts with some Ghanaians; her romance with an African Muslim; her trip to Germany, where she joins an American acting troupe and confronts her own prejudices; and her struggle to accept her son's manly independence. As in her previous memoirs, the poet's prose sings.
—Jackie Gropman, Fairfax County Public Library, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679734048
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1986
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 70,711
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Maya Angelou

Poet, writer, performer, teacher, and director Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas, and then moved to San Francisco. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she also wrote a cookbook, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, and five poetry collections, including I Shall Not Be Moved and Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? She died in 2014.

Biography

As a chronicler of her own story and the larger civil rights movement in which she took part, Maya Angelou is remarkable in equal measure for her lyrical gifts as well as her distinct sense of justice, both politically and personally.

Angelou was among the first, if not the first, to create a literary franchise based on autobiographical writings. In the series' six titles -- beginning with the classic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and followed by Gather Together in My Name, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, Heart of a Woman, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, and 2002's A Song Flung Up to Heaven -- Angelou tells her story in language both no-nonsense and intensely spiritual.

Angelou's facility with language, both on paper and as a suede-voiced speaker, have made her a populist poet. Her 1995 poem "Phenomenal Woman" is still passed along the Web among women as inspiration ("It's in the reach of my arms/The span of my hips/The stride of my steps/The curl of my lips./I'm a woman/Phenomenally/Phenomenal woman/That's me"), and her 1993 poem "On the Pulse of the Morning," written for Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration, was later released as a Grammy-winning album.

Angelou often cites other writers (from Kenzaburo Oe to James Baldwin) both in text and name. But as often as not, her major mentors were not writers – she had been set to work with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. before each was assassinated, stories she recounts in A Song Flung Up to Heaven.

Given her rollercoaster existence -- from poverty in Arkansas to journalism in Egypt and Ghana and ultimately, to her destiny as a successful writer and professor in the States – it's no surprise that Angelou hasn't limited herself to one or two genres. Angelou has also written for stage and screen, acted, and directed. She is the rare author from whom inspiration can be derived both from her approach to life as from her talent in writing about it. Reading her books is like taking counsel from your wisest, favorite aunt.

Good To Know

Angelou was nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Nyo Boto in the 1977 miniseries Roots. She has also appeared in films such as How to Make an American Quilt and Poetic Justice, and she directed 1998's Down in the Delta.

Angelou speaks six languages, including West African Fanti.

She taught modern dance at the Rome Opera House and the Hambina Theatre in Tel Aviv.

Before she became famous as a writer, Maya Angelou was a singer. Miss Calypso is a CD of her singing calypso songs.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Margeurite Johnson
      Maya Angelou
    2. Hometown:
      Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 4, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Education:
      High school in Atlanta and San Francisco

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

4 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Great Book

    I think that this is, perhaps, one of Maya Angelou's most underrated books. I enjoyed it very much. Angelou has a nice writing style that drew me into her story about trying to get in touch with her identity and culture.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2004

    Good book

    'All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes' by Maya Angelou is an outstanding book.If you are the type of person who likes to read about culture and heritage, you will like this book.The story tells about Maya's joining of a black colony in Ghana. She expresses her love and excitement of the of her new surroundings.She feels comfortable around all of the people who are like her, but in the end she ends up missing her home. There is romance, tragedy, and excitement in this edition of the story of Maya Angelou¿s life. I would definitely recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    A beatiful story

    this book portrays a story about maya journey to the soul .... this book is the most beatiful thing i have ever read ....it made me cry

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2003

    Truthful, Inspiring....

    Maya Angelou is insightful in her portrayal of an African American in search of acceptance in the land of his/her ancestors. It is a journey to find oneself, searching for strength in the acceptance of one's people.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    The world lost a phenomenal soul!

    I laughed, I cried. This book is beautifully written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    R.I.P.

    REST IN PEACE DEAR MS."ANGEL"OU.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2012

    Read the rest of the series - leave this one on the shelf

    I absolutely loved the other books in this series - they were honest, courageous, insightful, and inspiring. This book - I quit in the middle -- I found to be depressingly short sighted and I really got tired of the whining. To go to another country and expect somehow to be treated like royalty because of the past sins of past generations is simply naive and wrong. It would be like me going back to Ireland and expecting the people there to open their arms and treat me like family - - after several generations of America.

    Unlike the other books where Ms. Angelou was able to conquer prejudice and hatred with humor and a determination to succeed - in this book it seems she has nothing much good to say or positive to contribute. I was very disappointed and the read was drearily boring.

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

    She is the best

    I didn't want this story to end. I love Maya Angelou.


    This was my very first "nook" book. Nice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2011

    Great!

    I finished this book in less than 24hours. I couldn't put it down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2005

    E.D. English

    This novel was written by Maya Angelou in 1986. It is very personal and invites you to see how things were through her eyes. ¿Angelou¿s journey into Africa is a journey into herself, into that part of every Afro-American¿s soul that is still wedded to Africa, that still yearns for a home.¿ (Chicago Tribune Book World). Maya Angelou uses this novel to explore the many things that she¿s comprised of. A big part of that is being African American. She does through a very metrical aspect of writing. The writing style she uses is amazing. This woman can work a pen and lets it be known. First and foremost she is known as a poet, but you can clearly see musicianship. Adding to that she is a performer. All of this can be drawn from this literary piece. It uniquely flows to stir the imagination of the reader. ¿The drums beckoned, the kings appeared, and the air nearly collapsed under the weight of dust and thudding drums and shouting jubilation.¿ (Page 60). In this statement alone you can picture many things. It sets an intense mood in which a reader tends to be drawn into. This is only one sentence from the novel, with no word of a doubt, showing there is much much more. Several novels look like they might match up just because of it¿s title. That¿s the first thing that either makes or breaks the way it is received by the public. The title All God¿s Children Need Traveling Shoes is received by the public in several ways. It may seem like a testimonial piece in which the writer professes they¿re faithfulness to God. Both parts of the spectrum would want to read it. Christians because of the sacredness of it. Atheists and other religions to oppose it. In all honesty that is not the case with this title. The title itself is Maya Angelou¿s statement of herself. Her works before this did not relay to the spiritual aspect of herself. For those who love her work, it entices them into reading the work just to get a better understanding of who Maya is. She is such an extraordinary person who puts herself in her writing. The great aspect of this novel is that it is endless.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    Re: 'All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes'

    Maya Angelou is a very gifted writer, but my attention just wasn't captured by the contents of this book. Compared to the rest of her autobiography, 'All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes' was okay, but not great.

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    Posted January 31, 2013

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    Posted January 24, 2011

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    Posted October 20, 2010

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    Posted May 28, 2011

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    Posted May 28, 2011

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    Posted February 21, 2011

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    Posted February 7, 2011

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    Posted August 5, 2011

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    Posted August 2, 2011

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