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All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes Paperback – June 4, 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To read Angelou's book, the latest in a series of autobiographical works begun with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, without being moved would seem impossible. Here, this American poet, actress, civil rights activist and TV producer-director recalls her pilgrimage to Ghana in the early 1960s. Ostensibly, Angelou went there so that her son could study at the University of Ghanato put him (and herself) in touch with long-imagined ancestral roots. Sadly, she was disillusioned by the subtle rejection of native Ghanaians. Fighting this painful sense of not belonging, she plunged into activities; appearing in Genet's play The Blacks with black American performers, she went briefly to Berlin, where she underwent a searing experience dining in the home of a wealthy crypto-Nazi German. Other encounters, even the more pleasurable ones, hardly mitigate the homesickness and hurt underlying Angelou's poignant recall, which includes a meeting with Malcolm X and her visit to a village where, centuries ago, black men sold other black men, women and children to white slave traders. First serial to Essence.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA Angelou continues the candid chronicle of her life in this fifth volume of her autobiography which began with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Random, 1970). In the early '60s, Angelou worked at the university in Ghana and became involved with the community of Africans and black Americans. Students of African history will find a wealth of information and penetrating impressions of the proud, optimistic new country. Students of American history will learn first-hand of the opinions and feelings of black Americans who, living through the racial crisis of the '60s, came to Africa in search of their historical, spiritual and psychological home. Maya's own journey is at the center of the narrative, however, and readers will appreciate the candor with which she relates her conflicts with some Ghanaians; her romance with an African Muslim; her trip to Germany, where she joins an American acting troupe and confronts her own prejudices; and her struggle to accept her son's manly independence. As in her previous memoirs, the poet's prose sings. Jackie Gropman, Fairfax County Public Library, Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 4, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067973404X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679734048
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maya Angelou has been waitress, singer, actress, dancer, activist, filmmaker, writer and mother. As well as her autobiography she has written several volumes of poetry, including 'On the Pulse of the Morning' for the inauguration of President Clinton. She now has a life-time appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes" is an effective continuation of Maya Angelou's monumental, multi-volume autobiographical narrative. This installment begins in the early 1960s, with Maya and her son living in Africa. As a whole, this book is a fascinating meditation on the ties and disjunctions that exist between African-Americans and black Africans.
Maya reminisces about working for the University of Ghana, seeking employment as a journalist at the "Ghanaian Times," and beginning to pick up the Fanti language of Ghana. Particularly fascinating are her memories of the death of W.E.B. DuBois, the visit of Malcolm X to Africa, and her visit to Germany to perform in a production of Jean Genet's play "The Blacks." Angelou's book is both the vibrant record of an extraordinary woman, and an important portrait of Africa at a key era in its modern history.
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Format: Paperback
From purely a literary standpoint, I find ALL GOD'S CHILDREN NEED TRAVELING SHOES perhaps the best of Angelou's series of autobiographical works that I have encountered thus far. It is the fifth "installment," having been preceded by I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, GATHER TOGETHER IN MY NAME, SINGIN' AND SWINGIN' AND GETTIN' MERRY LIKE CHRISTMAS, and THE HEART OF A WOMAN. While I suppose that any of these could be read in isolation, to do so would be analogous to reading a single chapter from a full-length novel. One may enjoy the contents of that single chapter but will miss all the background material that explains how the characters reached that point in time and space as well as everything that follows to explain and wrap-up the story. For the same reasons, one really should read each of Angelou's books and in chronological order, too. Consequently, if one is examining reader reviews before purchasing ALL GOD'S CHILDREN, and if this is the first of Angelou's books being considered, please wait. Reading the others first will enhance significantly the reader's enjoyment of this one.

Pure autobiographies tend, in my experience, to be rather dull reading for the most part. Where is the excitement in a list of events and dates? That sort of dry recitation of historical facts is the reason that most of us were likely bored to somnambulance by our high school history textbooks. Happily, this is not at all that sort of autobiography. What one finds in Angelou's books is the world seen through her eyes and interpreted by her mind, and she carries with her the filters built strand by strand by her life experiences.

What "life experiences"? Being born Black into a legally, socially, culturally and thoroughly segregated country. Being abandoned by one's father.
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Format: Paperback
In 1962, Maya Angelou went to Ghana with her 17-year son. "All God's Children Need Travelling Shoes" tells the story of her personal journey to understand herself as a black American. This book provides fascinating insights about Maya Angelou in her early years and about Afro-American culture in general. In rich language, she provides both historical snapshots and compelling stories about Ghana's gentle people, herself, and the diaspora that brought black people to America.
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A Kid's Review on February 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Maya Angelou's autobiography reveals a loving and spiritual soul that many of today's readers aren't getting enough of. Her devoted and rich style of writing is very moving and will leave you in awe.
In his "journal", Maya Angelou confesses her opinion about different cultures around the world. Being an African- American and having lived in africa, she writes with a strong love for the people of that continent. She shows her love for the Christian religion and her son, Guy. The two of them moved through Cairo, Ghana, Liberia, and Egypt gracing others with her talents and liveliness. Even after enduring difficult times and tragedies, Maya stilled managed to gain self control and keep her boldness to find a way out.
Maya is a poet, a performer, a writer, a traveler, a musician and a great mother. of all of her accomplishments, I was most impresses with her poetry which is occasionally expressed throughout her book. With her poetic voice, she turns her life story into a great and powerful poem. "The moon is "red" as fire over black hills" is an expression from one of her great poems the critics acknowledge. I think that it was a good idea to add quotes from many of her poems because then you not only learn her words, but you almost "become" her words. I really do look up to all of Maya Angelou's accomplishments.
I think that Maya Angelou's words will be very inspiring to readers all around. Not only is she inspiring to me, but to many others that have read her books. William McPherson from the Washington Post Bookk World says, "Maya Angelou regards the world and herself with intelligence and wit; she regards the vents of her life with style and grace". I really do argee with him that she is very inspirational in everthing that she does.
This is a deservedly popular book about the amazing ife, love and goals of Maya Angelou. I can only hope that this book will touch your heart like it did mine.
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Format: Hardcover
I finished this book feeling just a little more connected to an Africa about which I've only been able to fantasize. This book sings to your heart with prose that is rhythmic and satiating, delicious to the eyes and savory to the tongue. For me, the only thing that could possibly top "Auntie's" writing is her speaking. In a voice that booms with quietness, Maya stokes and caresses, calms and enlightens. I've never had a disappointing experience with her autobiographical work or poetry. She's simply wonderful.
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