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All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (Maya Angelou's Autobiography #5)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  4,707 Ratings  ·  224 Reviews
Once again, the poet casts her spell as she resumes one of the greatest personal narratives of our time. In this continuation, Angelou relates how she joins a "colony" of Black American expatriates in Ghana--only to discover no one ever goes home again.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 20th 1997 by Random House (first published 1986)
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Rowena
“And now, less than one hundred years after slavery was abolished, some descendants of those early slaves taken from Africa returned, weighted with a heavy hope, to a continent which they could not remember, to a home which had shamefully little memory of them.” - Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes

Maya Angelou was a wonderful woman who struggled against the odds and gave us a wealth of experience and wisdom to draw from, as well as a reminder of our history. I’m always surpr
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This was the first book in this year's Postal Book Swap F rotation, all secret until we've all seen all of them. I picked this up to read the same day I spoke to a woman working at a permanent refugee camp in Malawi, and I read the first half without a break. I couldn't stop reading!

Maya Angelou is so engaging. It isn't surprising that a poet would write so lyrically, but there are moments that are so beautifully written.

I didn't know about this period of Angelou's life, about her disillusionme
...more
Eman
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


And now we come to Maya Angelou's fifth autobiography; All God's Children Need Travelling Shoes. This is a 240 pages book which has 42 chapters but most of them are super tiny which is perfect if you get easily distracted. Naturally I recommend reading the entire series, but somehow this volume has an independent soul. Maya had finally embraced her Africanism by spending some quality time in Ghana. Fate or chance brought her back to the black continent but was she complacent enough?

There is a f
...more
Cheryl
Thank goodness for the "Books-a-Million" African-American lit shelf, where they stock books front cover forward. There I was, waiting at their cafe for some chai, and this book was right there smiling at me. As soon as I flipped through the pages and saw Maya Angelou's reference to Liberia (my birth land where I spent most of my adolescence), I knew I had to buy and read.

During the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, a group of black Americans weary of the racial tensions, left America
...more
Demetri Broxton-Santiago
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, but especially African-Americans
I read this book in Ghana-- the site of the majority of the story. Maya Angelou is amazing. I could smell, feel, and visualize everything she spoke about. It didn't hurt that I was on the Legon University campus when I began this journey.
Angelou accurately portrays the African-American experience when we make that journey of discovery to Mama Africa. She vividly describes that desire to fall down and kiss the earth-- the earth that is OURS-- that our ancestors and cells within our bone's marro
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Darkowaa
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
!!! Review: http://africanbookaddict.com/2015/05/...

This is book 5 in Maya Angelou's autobiography series. I've read books 1-3 when I was younger. I'll have to dig thru my Mom's old books and read book 4 before the year ends!
Maya Angelou can do no wrong - seriously! This book takes place in Ghana (mostly Accra) in the 1960's, shortly after Ghana's independence in 1957. Maya Angelou joins a community of 'Revolutionist Returnees' - African Americans/Negro Americans on their quest to explore, unde
...more
Monica
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've got nothing but love, respect and admiration for this woman.
Brilliant writer, exceptional human being and humorous lady.
What a combination of brilliance.
I recommend all of her books to anyone and everyone. There's something in there for all of us. ❤
...more
Ulla
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And the story goes on. This one was a wonderful eye-opener; so much to learn about the differences between "real" African and American-African character. Can't wait to read the next one, though I suppose Maya is going back to USA.
This book I'm sure I'll read again!
Bethany
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bethany by: African-American Lit Professor
I give this five stars because Maya is such an incredible story teller. She wisks you along like a boat on a fast-moving current. She expresses both loathing and yearning for America, and I am torn between understanding and disappointment at her negativity towards the nation that fought the civil war and still strives to overcome 400 years of slavery.
Shatterlings
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-tbr
Not much happens in this, Maya lives in Ghana and has a job, she meets people and feels discontent. I think maybe it’s about living somewhere where you don’t feel you belong, she does write beautifully but this seemed like it could have been a chapter in an autobiography rather than needing its own book.
Sue
Engaging autobiographical story of her time living in Ghana in the 1960's. In her lovely style, she compares her experience of black Americans with the African experience and how they differ but have similarities. She tells of the fascinating people she meets there, including a visit by Malcolm X and meeting the President of Liberia. Her piercing insights into herself are always enlightening and every one of her autobiographies have been awesome.
Simon
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It's always a pleasure to read Angelou's graceful prose, and this time the subject matter offers something new. While there are familiar elements (her connection with the civil rights struggle, her relationship with her son, her tangled love life) it's the exploration of the experience of being a black American in Africa which is the most interesting. In addition to the sense of dislocation experienced by all expats there's the complex issue of racial heritage, and an often difficult realisation ...more
Elizabeth
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! I love Angelou's autobiographies. They are so human, they make you laugh but then on the next page you are sobbing. A fantastic storyteller. Anyone who is or has lived in another country will love this book.
Katrine Solvaag
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's honest, it's light-hearted, it's contemplative and still it manages to reflect on one person's struggle with history and it's cruelties. The first one I've read in Angelou's autobiographical sequence, but definitely not the last!
Ying Ying
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book of exquisite story paired with exquisite writing. In this volume of Maya Angelou's memoir series, she goes to Africa in her search for home, discovering her roots and understanding her own differences. Her son grows up and prepares to lead an independent life.
Pranjali Deshpande
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been reading Maya Angelou's autobiography series in a haphazard manner, starting from the end and picking up the stories in between. But any book I pick up doesn't really feel like a continuation of the ones before, and that's a good thing , if someone doesn't want to commit to reading the whole series.
Anyone who has been displaced from their country or culture of birth or feel a sense of belonging to a place other than the place they are in, will find a lot to identify with in Maya's acco
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Liralen
I don't have a ton to say about this one except that it's a really interesting look at a place and time, and at the idea of...hmm, ideas of home, maybe, and of what home means and what fitting in means and so on.

Mostly, though, I just want to pull out a few quotations:

We had come home, and if home was not what we had expected, never mind, our need for belonging allowed us to ignore the obvious and to create real places or even illusory places, befitting our imagination. (19)

I doubted if I, or an
...more
Maria Paiz
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this autobiographical book, set in the early 1960s, Maya Angelou is stranded in Ghana after her son has an accident. As her son heals and she starts acclimating to her new environment, she slowly begins to learn how in Ghana, where skin color is no longer an issue, she is still discriminated upon as a Black American. She talks about the hardships of Blacks returning to Africa in a search of their roots, only to discover that those have been severed and forgotten over time. There are two scene ...more
L
It's so good to visit an old friend! The opening provides such a contrast to today's "tell all" fashion, with people on talk shows and "reality TV" going on and on with how they've been wronged by others. Angelou, for those who don't remember, begins with her (frankly self-centered) response to her son's horrible injuries in an automobile accident in Ghana. The accident turned her life upside down, squashing her plans for life in Africa, leaving her as a damaged shell. She pulls no punches, deta ...more
F.E. Jr.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I purchased this on Amazon a couple of weeks ago and recently got it in the mail. After the Orlando shooting that has our country reeling, I needed to get out of my head. And I needed to get out of my heart.
So, last night - I picked up this book and began to read and I finished it, when the sun came up.
I don't know what to say about this. I don't know how to articulate in any fashion what this book made me feel that wouldn't come off vulgar in comparison to the words of Dr. Angelou.
We were gi
...more
Estelle
I've been reading through the autobiographies of Maya Angelou. This is the next for me - fifth in the series of seven written by this extraordinary woman. The title derives from a Negro Spiritual, and describes Angelou's years spent in Ghana in the early 1960s. She became part of the ex-pat community and felt both at home because of her ancestry and apart because she was immediately recognized as a Black American. Although she made many Ghanaian friends she was surprised at the attitudes of the ...more
Chris
I never would have read this book, but its part of our Sophomore curriculum so I didn't have a choice. I now feel terrible that I've never really read anything by Maya Angelou before -- I always just sort of thought of her as someone who was important but I assumed the sort of person who would be asked to read a poem at a presidential inauguration wasn't an author I'd really like. I was VERY wrong -- not only is her story powerful and well written, but she is a kick-ass woman as well, a single-m ...more
May-Ling
Nov 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: authors-of-color
i hadn't read anything by maya angelou until this book, and it made me want to read more. she writes so well, and her strong, feisty, spirit truly shines in her voice. the book chronicles her time in ghana and i liked hearing about her identity struggles and actual events that happened during her time there, as she navigated between her black american identity and her identity as a resident of ghana - what to change and what to adapt.

it was a privilege to hear of her numerous conversations with
...more
Lori
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Another great read by Maya Angelou. Most of her books are biographical. this one focuses on the two years she lived in Ghana. She was there in the early 1060s. Her son Guy was 17 when they first came there. He was involved in a very serious car accident shortly after graduating from high school. After spending a long while in the hospital with neck injuries he finally got better and began college. Ms. Angelou then spent the next two years. Learning about the people who lived in Ghana, dated inte ...more
Leisha Wharfield
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Straightforward African-American expatriate memoir, except Maya, so the storytelling is frank and engaging, chapter to chapter, with occasional poetic riffs that make me go Ah. Ah, yes, Sister Maya, you help me know, I cry with the people of Keta, I thrill with the discovery of her ancestry and with the persistence of men who desire her beauty, strength, and wisdom. Then I cry again, because she died recently, then I laugh again, remembering her "American Negro" sisters who spoke about her in th ...more
Sarah
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me very much of Richard Wright's "Black Power." The accounts of Black Americans returning to Africa and trying to make sense of their place in their ancestral home are fascinating to me. Angelou provides many insights and riveting stories about her time as an exile in Ghana. In particular, her recounting of Malcolm X's visit left me breathless. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Lit Bug
Maya Angelou's memoir, her delicate position as an outsider, both in the western world (being a Black) and in the African world (being an American), her interactions with controversial figures such as Malcolm X and President Kwame Nkrumah. Her attachment to her native land Ghana, and a load of interesting details about her traumatic childhood.
Meghan
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
You can never get enough Maya...a beautiful story to remind it is up to us to make our way in this world
Derek
Dec 04, 2014 rated it liked it
dare i admit i once read this? http://www.5cense.com/14/392.htm
Laura
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having visited Ghana in the last decade, Accra market, Elmina Castle, Cape Coast it was an absolute pleasure to be brought back to this country by such a poetical realist. I am always dazzled by her writing, her metaphorical turns, her absolute stretching of the simile into new visions. I also met some Afro Americans close to Elmina who told me about their experience in Ghana. It feels very similar to what Angelou depicts - suspicion, surcharge to produce as they are seen as foreigners, no time ...more
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Mentor Texts: Mentor Texts 1 5 Apr 29, 2017 06:38PM  
Around the Year i...: All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, by Maya Angelou 3 27 Aug 01, 2016 03:45PM  
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8,176 followers
Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, was an American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. In 2001 she was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. Maya Angelou is known for her series of six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (1969) which was ...more
More about Maya Angelou

Other books in the series

Maya Angelou's Autobiography (7 books)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Gather Together in My Name
  • Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #3)
  • The Heart of a Woman
  • A Song Flung Up To Heaven
  • Mom & Me & Mom
“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” 567 likes
“If the heart of Africa remained elusive, my search for it had brought me closer to understanding myself and other human beings. The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. It impels mighty ambitions and dangerous capers. We amass great fortunes at the cost of our souls, or risk our lives in drug dens from London’s Soho, to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. We shout in Baptist churches, wear yarmulkes and wigs and argue even the tiniest points in the Torah, or worship the sun and refuse to kill cows for the starving. Hoping that by doing these things, home will find us acceptable or failing that, that we will forget our awful yearning for it.” 5 likes
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