Maya Angelou on the Black Side of the Tracks

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In this clip from the 1982 series Creativity, the esteemed poet Maya Angelou, who died today at the age of 86, travels with Bill Moyers to her childhood town of Stamps, Arkansas, where she experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but was also fortified by the values of the traditional African-American family, community and culture.

The full video can be purchase for educational purposes through Films Media Group. For more information, contact the production company, IPF Media.

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  • Ellen McPherson

    I have remembered this moment in this particular segment for 30 years. I cannot believe it is posted here. It is just as powerful now as it was then. Thank you for posting it and how I would love to see Creativity all over again…the whole series.

  • Dan

    This is a beautiful moment. Bill Moyers, the journalist, listens. Maya is vulnerable now as she was as a child at the foot of the tracks. At the end, she turns around arm-in-arm with Bill, turning their backs to the tracks that symbolize segregation and hatred. This is about as poignant as 3 minutes can be.

  • Private Private

    This is a very intriguing interview. The setting of old rail road tracks next to a pond in a small rural town in a Southern U.S. state brings a certain surrealness to the moment. As Moyers takes the lead you begin to wonder where they are headed as the walk and talk. Then you realize its towards the tracks. Moyers seemed to have wanted to conquer the tracks with her.

    Those infamous tracks that symbolize the boundries of right and wrong, the limitations of that little girls world. It was striking to she how they were that day as they had been all her life, a barrier to her ultimate freedom.

    This video is lingering, and will continue to linger, with me. Facinating.

  • Chris Boese

    I love this clip of early Bill Moyers and Maya Angelou (I met her in Arkansas in the late 80s, but didn’t live in a town with a REAL railroad tracks like that until I moved to Valdosta, Georgia in 1990).

  • patricia long

    Well put—–“how they were that day as they had been all her life—-a barrier to her ultimate freedom.” I love those words!

  • Kathryn Alexander

    I have to wonder when and if I’ve ever made a black child feel safe in “my” world…

  • LeJewel

    Felt the same regarding our little places here in Illinois. Crossing into carpentersville, from Elgin was quite scary as well.
    Still today those feelings were embedded so, that when I’m crossing into c’ville the hairs on my neck always rise.