Maya Angelou was an African American writer who is most famous for her poems and seven autobiographies. She was a prolific poet who explored numerous themes in her poems including those of women, love, loss, music, struggle, discrimination and racism. Still I Rise directly addresses the white oppressors of black people and responds to centuries of oppression and mistreatment they have suffered. It talks about various means of oppression, like writing, which the narrator addresses in the first stanza of the poem. Still I Rise hails the indomitable spirit of Black people; and expresses faith that they will triumph despite adversity and racism. It is the most famous poem of Maya Angelou and it was also her favorite. In 1994, Nelson Mandela recited this poem at his presidential inauguration. Still I Rise is perhaps the most famous poem written by an African American and it has been called a “proud, even defiant statement on behalf of all Black people”.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.