History. Or, Herstory.
Let's turn our eyes to a constant in Angelou's repertoire: attention to the history of Africans and African Americans. After all, she made her way into the literary world with a searing autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. And since she happens to be an African-American woman, it stands to reason that she would have an interest in the fate of black women. That's certainly the case in this poem, which turns an entire continent into the body of a woman.