The Heart of a Woman

by Maya Angelou

Paperback, 1997




Bantam (1997), Edition: 1, 336 pages


This fourth autobiographical work by Maya Angelou tells of her entry into New York's circle of black artists and writers, her involvement in the civil rights movement, and changes in her personal life.


½ (251 ratings; 3.8)

User reviews

LibraryThing member baswood
This is the fourth book in Maya Angelou’s autobiographical series and starts with Billie Holliday as a house guest and goes on to describe her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and meetings with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. She organised the Cabaret for Freedom in support of Martin
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Luther Kings Southern Christian Leadership Conference and acted in Jean Genet’s play The Blacks with Abbey Lincoln, Roscoe Lee Brown, James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett, Godfrey Cambridge, and Cicely Tyson. The final part of the book sees her married to South African Freedom Fighter Vusumzi Make and living in Cairo. An eventful period in her life and she certainly adds plenty of drama to her story.

This period sees her looking at the world from her position within the Black civil rights movement and it is a hostile vision of the white society that controls America. All white’s are ‘Crackers’ never to be trusted and she willingly goes to Africa to escape from the oppression that is part of a black persons lot in 1960’s America. Maya Angelou captures the feelings of those people involved in the struggle as she catapults around in a sphere of now famous people from the movement. Her writing hasn’t lost its edge in this fourth volume and so another four star read.
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LibraryThing member eargent
A book that follows another Chapter of Maya Angelou's life. I enjoyed this one but not as much as the "Caged Bird".
LibraryThing member earthfriendly
Just finished this book and thought it was great, but I wouldn't read it unless you've already read the previous three.
LibraryThing member andersonden
This book was very engaging. It's an autobiographical account of Maya Angelou's life from late adolescence through her early 30's (the time her son was growing up). She has led a very interesting life and it made for some exciting and gripping reading. Also, because she is a poet she tends to
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choose her words very carefully and mindfully.
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LibraryThing member LJT
I've loved Maya Angelous's previous autobiographies. I enjoy her poetry and greatly admire her achievements. This book I did not enjoy as much because I found that one of my heroines has element of racism that is truly unfortunate, though, perhaps, understandable.
LibraryThing member wamser
Good basic story-telling, but lacking in depth.
LibraryThing member silva_44
I have enjoyed each volume of her autobiography, but the first is still my favorite.
LibraryThing member TAMARAJFOSTER
Absolutely loved this book! It was so real, interesting, and down-to-earth, yet scholarly, hilarious, challenging while driving a thrill of inspiration like a locomotive without brakes. This was my first Maya Angelou reading, and I'm already looking into purchasing more of her books. I could not
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put this book down. I skipped plans and invitations just to be at home drinking every word she wove into these pages.
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LibraryThing member ValerieAndBooks
The Heart of a Woman is the fourth in a series of seven autobiographies penned by Maya Angelou. It begins with her decision to move from California to New York City, because she was invited to participate in the Harlem Writers Guild. Finally we see when and where her writing has started to bud.
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However, the real focus in this installment is Angelou's time as a civil rights activist -- yet another item to add to her very long resume, even though at this time she was still in her early 30s.

Angelou shares with us her involvement in a long-running show "Cabaret for Freedom" that provided funds for SCLC, the organization founded by Martin Luther King, and in which she had heavy involvement. She replaced Bayard Rustin (at Rustin's request) as the SCLC's Northern Coordinator.

After some time, she met and married (though in name only, apparently) the African anti-apartheid leader, Vusumzi Make and moved to Africa with him.

All fascinating, but at the same time, I was amazed at how she just continues on moving her son, a teenager during this time, all over the place. They lived in several apartments in New York City and Harlem, for instance.

At the very end of this volume, Angelou becomes separated from Make and her son goes off to college in Ghana. As I understand it, the next autobiography covers her time in Ghana. Should continue to be interesting reading.
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LibraryThing member Smokler
A more contained (really, the story of her son's teenage years. World events play a supporting role), less event-filled phase of Dr. Angelou's earlier life. She overreaches a few times and yells rather than speaks the significance of a moment. Largely though, this is a remarkable achievement in how
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much it takes into its arms so effortlessly. It's great fun to read and feels like the events of almost 70 years ago happened yesterday.
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Physical description

336 p.; 5.59 inches



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