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In I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings, poet and author Maya Angelou details the five-year period of her childhood when she was mute – unable to speak – after the man who had raped her was murdered shortly after being released from jail. “My voice killed that man,” Angelou recounts in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on how her seven-year-old logic led to her years-long bout of self-imposed silence. It was only through her voracious love of the written word that she would eventually reclaim her voice.

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