Book

The Heart of a Woman

by Maya Angelou

Published in 1981, “The Heart of a Woman” is the fourth book out of Maya Angelou’s seven autobiographies.

Our book of the month is inspired by our Woman in History for our May issue of blakINwite, Maya Angelou (1951 – 2014).


Published in 1981, “The Heart of a Woman” is the fourth book out of Maya Angelou’s seven autobiographies. This memoir tells the story of Maya’s young adulthood between 1957 and 1962, where she relocates from California to New York with her son Guy. During her stay in New York, she worked towards her career as a writer and developed many new passions.

She made new friends and joined a group of writers at the Harlem Writers Guild where she read her writing. Maya was also a good singer, and soon began singing at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Later in her writing career, she became the first female editor of an English language magazine.


Hearing about the struggle her new friends went through as black Americans in New York, she became intrigued by the inequality that many of them faced. She soon became an active member in the civil rights movement and was an activist for the rights of black women in America. With her growing passion to fight for their rights, she soon becomes romantically involved with a South African activist who was fighting against apartheid, whom she later marries and travels with to many countries.

This memoir also tells the story of the relationship she has with her son, who supports all of her passions. The book ends with Guy entering adulthood and leaving to university to pursue his passions.


Maya Angelou’s 7 autobiographies in order:

  1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

  2. Gather Together in My Name (1974)

  3. Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry like Christmas (1976)

  4. The Heart of a Woman (1981)

  5. All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986)

  6. A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002)

  7. Mom and Me and Mom (2013

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She is the author of seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and poetry books. She’s won several awards and received more than 50 honorary degrees.