Synopsis by Hal Erickson
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is based on the writings of African-American poet/playwright Maya Angelou. Though she eventually became America's poet laureate, Angelou was once just another little black girl growing up in Depression-era Arkansas. Her efforts to better herself run up against the stone wall of bigotry; in addition, the girl is traumatized into sullen silence by a brutal rape. Slowly, and with the loving support of her dedicated mother, Angelou overcomes her many deprivations, and by the time she is a high school senior, she has been elected class valedictorian. Constance Good plays young Angelou in this made-for-TV film, which also stars Esther Rolle, Roger E. Mosley, Diahann Carroll, Ruby Dee and Madge Sinclair. Filmed on location in Vicksburg, Mississippi, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was adapted for television by Ms. Angelou and Leonora Thuna; it was first telecast April 28, 1979.
African-American, bigotry, mother, rape, Great-Depression