Scores of friends, family, and icons gathered to honor Dr. Maya Angelou’s life at her home going service at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Oprah Winfrey, First Lady Michelle Obama, actress Cicely Tyson, former President Bill Clinton, and Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson, spoke of the poet’s amazing life.
Winfrey was moved to tears speaking of her “spiritual queen mother,” telling the crowd, “She was the ultimate teacher. She taught me the poetry of courage and respect.”
Mrs. Obama talked of Angelou’s influence on her life. “For me that was the power of Maya Angelou’s words, words so powerful that they carried a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago all the way to the White House,” Mrs. Obama said.
Former president Bill Clinton spoke of the last time he saw Angelou at the 50th commemoration of the signing of the Civil Right’s Act. Although Angelou was confined to a wheelchair, she didn’t let that stop her from going where she pleased.
Clinton explained: “I went over and hugged her and said, ‘I cannot believe you got yourself here.’ She said, ‘Just because I’m wheelchair bound doesn’t mean I don’t get around.’”
Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson summed up the memorial, remarking, “There is no mourning here. We have added to the population of angels.”