Graduation by Maya Angelou is an excerpt from her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It is the representation of the devastation that was caused by racism and segregation in her own life. After hearing a speech where she is told that role models for black people are merely male athletes she realizes that there is almost no hope at all for her to become anything of importance because the only roles of importance that can be played by African Americans, according to the white people of her time, were athletes and the only way to be an athlete was to be male. In her mind, Angelou had no hope of becoming anything and it was a devastating thing to think as a young girl in the eight grade. However, despite her many trials Angelou was able to overcome them and has made great triumphs in her time and has became extremely successful and holds a very important role as a contemporary American writer. It just goes to show that people are capable of exceeding expectations.