A memorial service was held for Maya Angelou at the Wake Forest University where she taught.
Family and friends spoke on the huge impact the late poet had on their lives, including former president Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.
“We could just all be up here talking about how Maya Angelou represented a big piece of American history. And triumphed over adversity. And proved how dumb racism is,” Clinton said at the private memorial service. “But her great gift in her action-packed life was she was always paying attention. And from the time she starting writing her books and her poetry, what she was basically doing was calling our attention to the things she’d been paying attention to. And she did it with a clarity and power that will wash over people as long as there is a written and spoken language.”
“Her voice lifted me right out of my own little head,” First Lady Michelle Obama said of Angelou. “She told us that our worth has nothing to do with what the world might say. Instead, she said, each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. She reminded us that we must each find our own voice, decide our own value, and then announce it to the world with all the pride and joy that is our birthright as members of the human race.”
“Maya Angelou is the greatest woman I have ever known,” Oprah Winfrey said. “She was my anchor. So it’s hard to describe to you what it means when your anchor shifts.”
Angelou died on the 28th of May at the age of 86.