My Journey with Maya

My Journey with Maya


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My Journey with Maya by Tavis Smiley

A remarkable story of friendship, love, and courage

When Maya Angelou and Tavis Smiley met in 1986, he was twenty-one and she was fifty-eight. For the next twenty-eight years, they shared an unlikely, special bond. Angelou was a teacher and a maternal figure to Smiley, and they talked often, of art, politics, history, race, religion, music, love, purpose, and--more than anything--courage. Courage to be open, to follow dreams, to believe in oneself.

In My Journey with Maya, Smiley recalls a joyful friendship filled to the brim with sparkling conversation--in Angelou's gardens surrounded by her caged birds, before lectures, sharing meals, and on breaks from it all, they sought each other out for comfort, advice, and above all else, friendship.

It began when he, a recent college graduate and a poor kid from a big family in the Midwest, was invited to join the revered writer on a sojourn to Africa. He would be handling her bags, but Maya didn't let that stop a friendship waiting to happen. Angelou was generous, challenging, and inspirational. Like a mother to him, she was selfless.

Here Tavis Smiley shares his personal memories of Maya Angelou, of a decades-long friendship with one of history's most fascinating women, one who left as indelible an imprint on American culture as she did on him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316341752
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 04/07/2015
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Tavis Smiley is the host of PBS's Tavis Smiley and Public Radio International's The Tavis Smiley Show. Smiley is also the bestselling author of 17 books. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Table of Contents

Prologue 3

Part 1 The Motherland

1 Taking Off 9

2 "The Ax Forgets; the Tree Remembers" 23

3 "Frailties and Faults" 39

4 "1 Do Not Care to Dance" 49

5 Living History 67

Part 2 Voices

6 Reentry 91

7 What's in a Name? 107

8 What's ma Word? 117

9 The Art of Listening 131

10 Grace and Disgrace 149

Part 3 Courage

11 Breath 163

12 The Good Word 173

13 Advocacy versus Accountability 189

14 Shower the People 197

Epilogue 209

Acknowledgments 213

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My Journey with Maya 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
LynnLD More than 1 year ago
This first- person narrative account of the years that Tavis Smiley spent in the company of Dr. Maya Angelou is a real eye opener.  I did not know that he had access to her in such a personal way through a friendship that lasted over 20 years.  She took him under her wing and it helps explains his success as one of the best interviewers I have seen.  Tavis, whom I admire, lets his guests speak what is in their hearts with little interruption yet through skillful guidance.  All of those precious moments with the wise Dr. Maya surely added to his views and open-mindedness about life in general.  This is a great read and I could not put it down.  I saw her speak in Boston and I have read and cherished most of her works, but this puts an even greater spin on her illustrious life.  Thank you, Tavis Smiley.  I feel that I know her even better, now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago