Published by Random House, this book is the sixth in a series of autobiographical works. In this work, Angelou begins by describing her involvement in the American Civil Rights movement after returning from Ghana, and ends with her withdrawal public activity and a decision to begin writing I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She explains:
It was a very difficult book to write. In all my work, I try to say – you may be given a load of sour lemons, why not try to make a dozen lemon meringue pies? But I didn’t see how I could do that with this book, dealing with Malcolm’s murder, Martin’s murder, the uprising in Watts, the end of a love affair- marriage-cum-something. It took me six years to write this book, and it’s the slimmest of all the volumes.