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When Maya Angelou passed away in 2014, she left behind a literary legacy that continues to inspire readers today.

Maya Angelou’s famous book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published in 1969. The autobiographical novel follows the young girl as she is forced to move from place to place and endure years of abuse and racism. Although it was not her first book, it was the one that brought her widespread fame and recognition. The title comes from a poem by African-American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, who wrote: “When the caged bird sings, / And he is singing well, / And his tune is clear, / He may be happy then.”

The book describes some of the most difficult times in Maya Angelou’s life, including being raped at eight years old by her mother’s boyfriend. Despite these events taking place over 70 years ago, many people are still affected by them today.