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

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  3,247 ratings  ·  134 reviews
"Thoroughly enjoyable . . . an important document drawing more much-needed attention to the hidden history of a people both African and American."--Los Angeles Times Book Review.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published (first published 1986)
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“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
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
Demetri Broxton-Santiago
Sep 22, 2007 Demetri Broxton-Santiago rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Apr 01, 2008 Bethany rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Maria Paiz
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
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
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
Apr 01, 2014 Ami rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone. Especially passionate African Americans.
Recommended to Ami by: No one
I found this book at the back of the shelf in the house. It is probably one of the only books I've never read in the whole house. It was coated in dust. I was curious. So I cleaned it off and opened it...

It was fate. I needed this book, and I needed to go on this journey.

My heart has always longed for a link to Africa. I reach for a single tendril to grab onto, but Africa is always out of reach. Once I finished reading this book, I felt like I got a little closer. This book follows Maya as she
I wonder, when Maya wrote this autobiographical account in 1986 about her time spent in Ghana in the 1960's, if she could could have foreseen where her tome would end up in 2014. I hauled a yellowed copy home in October, squashed in the bottom of a box of used books. I tried to sell it online, only to find out it's worth a penny plus shipping and handling. I thumbed through and started reading it. Wouldn't ya know, I got hooked on page one. I love Maya's way with words, and I love to read about ...more
You can never get enough Maya...a beautiful story to remind it is up to us to make our way in this world
This is book 5 of Maya Angelou's autobiography and it is full of her time spent in Ghana; coming to terms, in some ways, with her peoples' birth place, the growth, maturity and independence of her son, Guy, and her eventual intent to return to America to work with Malcolm X and his Organization for Afro American Unity ( This is terrific personal - and I ma very personal - historiography and done is Ms Angelou's singular and compelling prose. I highly rec ...more
By far, my least favorite of Maya's autobiographies so far. This book is almost entirely political commentary on Africa and the similarities and differences between African Blacks and American Blacks in the civil rights era.

On a side note, through all of these biographies you come to revere Maya as a strong, smart, savvy, woman and yet we see her foolishly plunge into relationships with the crappiest of men over and over again. It gets so frustrating. I know this is an account of her life and t
(Read 5/2009). This book is number five out of the six in her autobiographical series that begins with "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." It begins immediately where the last novel left off: Maya and her son Guy have just moved from Egypt to Ghana (in West Africa) after the divorce from her second husband, an African diplomat of sorts, who is part of the fight to end Apartheid in South Africa. After only a few days in Ghana, Guy is in a serious car accident, which, results in a near full body ca ...more
This is a difficult rating because I am not rating Maya Angelou against other writers or books because I consider her one of the greatest writers of our time. I am rating her against herself. While I adore her and was touched at moments by this book, it was not my favorite of hers.

Quotes that struck me:
I did know some people who would receive me, but reluctantly, because I had nothing to offer company save a long face and a self-pitying heart, and I had no intention of changing either.

We had com
grandioso leerlo. si han corrido con la suerte de ser mimados por una buena cuenta cuentos en su vida... que conseguía convertir momentos cotidianos en travesías inusuales... posiblemente encontrarán cómodo su estilo y dejarán que el libro los mime con las experiencias de maya angelou.

fue agradable la concordancia entre lo que cuenta y cómo lo cuenta... me dejó una sensación de haber escuchado a 'auntie maya' contarme su vida mientras estábamos en el parque, en la cocina, en la cama envuelta co
I enjoyed this read. It was thought provoking. Reading it I did not hear a black woman's voice - though that's who she is, and proud of it. I heard some of my own emotions on behalf of the black community, and the voice was just a human voice - someone who had been hurt. The episode in Germany brought an interesting parallel with the blacks and the Jewish.
Her thought processes of trying to deal with slavery were normal and human, not overwhelming, as so many other things are. So much of what I'
In All Gods Children Need Traveling Shoes, Maya Angelou tells the story of her journey in the 1960's to Ghana, where she lived with her son Guy, who enrolled in the University of Ghana. Ms. Angelou tells of her search for an African identity of the subtle prejudices of the native Ghanaians, who never fully accept her as an African. She also shares stories of her meeting with Malcolm X, and a journey to Berlin where she appears in the play "The Blacks" and later has dinner, along with a Jewish co ...more
I love Maya Angelou's ability to observe others and then reflect on herself. She is humble, funny, entertaining, reflective, angry, demanding and inspiring throughout this autobiographical account of her time in Ghana. It's an incredible story, really -- showing the courage it takes to seek one's self by returning to one's roots and then discovering that origins are not everything. As a migrant myself I find this book compelling because it pushes the comfort zones around fitting in -- and realiz ...more
In this installment of Maya's life, we followed her through her years in Ghana after her breakup with South African Freedom fighter, Vusumzi Make. Maya was actually on her way to Liberia when her life was sidetracked by an accident involving her only son.

Of all of Maya's autobiographical works that I have read, so far, this one is the least "raw." More than documenting her life, she had things that she wanted to say. I believe that this is the book Maya most wanted to write. In Ghana, she discov
Every year for Black History month I read a new Maya Angelou autobiography. I started with "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" and now I'm up to #5. I'm going to run out of books soon.

I love Maya Angelou and I'm always amazed by what she has encountered in her life. This portion of her autobiography takes place in Liberia and is about her life as an American expat during the civil rights movement.
This was a well written book! Maya Angelou moves to Ghana as part of an attempt to claim a piece of cultural identity and historical identity. She discusses what it meant to move to Africa as an African-American. She discusses the issues of slavery frankly and how it made her feel to live in Africa and confront those thoughts within herself. What an amazing way to discover who you are and really think about your own construct while away from your home and away from all that you know. I thourough ...more
Katy Rosenthal
This was my first time reading Maya Angelou, and it was a wonderful experience. Her voice is so warm and full of wisdom and honesty. The novel explores a very interesting and important theme of identity and a sense of home. Angelou did an excellent job of making the story feel both personal and applicable to the world at large.
I just began reading another book by Maya Angelou. The one I previously read from this author was All God's Children need traveling shoes. To be honest I wasn't in wow from the book because some people said that I would be, but I really liked the factA that she doesn't tell about her life in a boring way. In this book she had travelled to Africa to search for an alternative to escape the racism in the US, and to discover her roots. Her voice is powerful even though the style of the book, I find ...more
I had once read an essay by this same author "I know why the caged bird sings" when I was in seventh grade. I did not understand the essay at that time, but now I think I understand the author a bit more by reading her autobiography. This is about the author traveling to Ghana, and tracing back her roots. Not that she actually tried to but she did wanted to track back to her ancestors who once had lived in Africa. Many events happen in her life in this country, and I found this book interesting ...more
Peg Lotvin
One of a series of autobiographical books about Angelou's life. This is set mostly in Ghana where she was traveling with her teenage son. A lot of name dropping and confliction about where she was and where she wanted to be. I should read the first book first. Not a good idea to start in the middle of a series.
Pauline Currens
I am reading all of Maya's books one after the other! Her honesty and modesty is humbling, she makes you really believe that any one of us can make that difference! To use our hardships and learn from them and make the world a better place! Although she is just the most 'phenomenal woman' and my heroine x
Carol Flatten
I do not read many nonfiction books, but read this one for book club. It was excellent. Angelou's writing was so very easy to read and her story was facinating. I have read many books about Africa, but none about Ghana. Her descriptions were rich and very real and her feelings expressed beautifully.
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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 n ...more
More about Maya Angelou...

Other Books in the Series

Maya Angelou's Autobiography (6 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
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings The Heart of a Woman  Letter to My Daughter Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now The Complete Collected Poems

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“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” 282 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.” 3 likes
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