I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou
Quotes

Chapters 32–36

Quotes Chapters 32–36
Odd that the homeless children, the silt of war frenzy, could initiate me into the brotherhood of man. After hunting down unbroken bottles and selling them with a white girl from Missouri, a Mexican girl from Los Angeles and a Black girl from Oklahoma, I was never again to sense myself so solidly outside the pale of the human race. The lack of criticism evidenced by our ad hoc community influenced me, and set a ton of tolerance for my life.
The house seemed smaller and quieter after the trip south, and the first bloom of San Francisco’s glamour had dulled around the edges. Adults had lost the wisdom from the surface of their faces. I reasoned that I had given up some youth for knowledge, but my gain was more valuable than the loss.
I was given blood tests, aptitude tests, physical coordination tests, and Rorschachs, then on a blissful day I was hired as the first Negro on the San Francisco streetcars.
I had a baby. He was beautiful and mine. Totally mine.
She turned the light on and said, “Look at the baby.” My fears were so powerful I couldn’t move to look at the center of the bed. She said again, “Look at the baby.” I didn’t hear sadness in her voice, and that helped me to break the bonds of terrors. The baby was no longer in the center of the bed. At first I thought he had moved. But after closer investigation I found that I was lying on my stomach with my arm bent at a right angle. Under the tent of blanket, which was poled by my elbow and forearm, the baby slept touching my side.