All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes
All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, published in 1986, is the fifth book in African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou’s seven-volume autobiography series. Set between 1962 and 1965, the book begins when Angelou is 33 years old, and recounts the years she lived in Accra, Ghana. According to Angelou, the title comes from a spiritual of African-Africanism during this time.
About All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes in brief
All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, published in 1986, is the fifth book in African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou’s seven-volume autobiography series. Set between 1962 and 1965, the book begins when Angelou is 33 years old, and recounts the years she lived in Accra, Ghana. The book, deriving its title from a Negro spiritual, begins where her previous memoir, The Heart of a Woman, ends — with the traumatic car accident involving her son Guy — and closes with Angelou returning to America. As in her previous books, it consists of a series of anecdotes connected by theme. She depicts her struggle with being the mother of a grown son, and with her place in her new home. Although motherhood is an important theme in this book, it does not overwhelm the text as it does in some of her other works. This time she focuses on trying to get home, or on becoming assimilated in African culture, which she finds unattainable. At the end of the book, she ties up the motherson plot when she leaves her son in Ghana and returns to America, and ends the book with a nod to her late husband Paul Du Feu, who encouraged her to tell the truth as a writer and to be honest about it. Through the writing of her life stories Angelou has become recognized and highly respected as a spokesperson for women. It made her, as scholar Joanne Braxton has stated, “without a doubt, the most visible black woman”. According to McPherson, Traveling shoes is a personal recollection and historical document of the time in which it is set.
According to Angelou, the title comes from a spiritual of African-Africanism during this time. This was the first time that many Black Americans, due to the independence of Ghana and other African states, were able to view Africa in a positive way in a way that they were not able to in the 1950s and 1960s. It was the center of an African cultural renaissance and of Pan-Americanism. This is the time when many African-Americans, including Angelou and Kwame Nkrumah, began to see themselves in a more positive light. It is this time that Angelou was able to focus honestly on the more negative aspects of her personality and choices. As she had started to do in her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and continued throughout her series, Angelou upholds the long tradition of the autobiography. At the same time she makes a deliberate attempt to challenge the usual structure of the autobiographies by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. She was one of the first African- American female writers to publicly discuss her personal life, and one ofThe first to use herself as a central character in her books, something she continues in Traveling shoe’s book. Her first volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.