A Song Flung Up to Heaven : A Song Flung Up To Heaven opens with Maya's return from Africa, where she has been living for four years. She leaves behind a 19-year-old son, a husband from whom she is separated, and the new man in her life, all because she has decided to dedicate herself to working with Malcolm X on his plan to bring the plight of beleaguered blacks to the attention of the United Nations. When the shocking news of his assassination rips her life apart within two days of her arrival in the United States, she is forced to "search for a path back into life" - a new way of playing a meaningful role in the destiny of the black community. Drifting from gigs as a band singer in Hawaii, market researcher in Watts, and actress in an experimental theatre troupe in Los Angeles, she finally moves to New York, where she finds a place for herself amidst a lively group of black artists, writers, and musicians that includes James Baldwin, Paule Marshall, Rosa Guy, Abbey Lincoln, and Max Roach. But political activism calls to her once again, this time in the voice of Martin Luther King, who enlists her help in organizing his poor people's march on Washington. After King, too, is assassinated, Maya goes into hibernation. But when a dinner party James Baldwin drags her to turns into an impromptu celebration of life and survival, she comes out of herself long enough to tell stories that are so inspiring that an editor at Random House is moved to call her about the possibility of writing an autobiography.
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