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Maya Angelou on her mother: I became 'unafraid' because of her

By KATE STANTON, UPI.com
Maya Angelou on her mother: I became 'unafraid' because of her
President Barack Obama awards the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to poet Maya Angelou during a ceremony at the White House in Washington on February 15, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

Just in time for Mother's Day, The Huffington Post interviewed Maya Angelou about her mother, whom she writes about in her new book, "Mom & Me & Mom."

The 85-year-old literary legend, who wrote 1969's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," said her mother gave her the courage to pursue her dreams.

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She actually said, "Mary McLeod Bethune, Eleanor Roosevelt and my mother," - she said, "You're in that category." I was 22 years old! She said she was too mean to lie. [laughs] And she was very intelligent. So I thought, suppose she's right? Suppose I do have something? Suppose I am going to be somebody?

"I became unafraid because of Vivian Baxter," Angelou continued.

I mean, if you were the President of the United States or the Queen of England - you couldn't have a person who would be more protective than my mother was for me. Which meant really that I could dare to do all sorts of things.

When Angelou became pregnant at 16, she said her mother "liberated" her from the feeling that she shamed the family.

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Angelou received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from Barack Obama in 2011.

You can read more of Angelou's interview with The Huffington Post here.

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