Mourners gathered at Wake Forest University in North Carolina this weekend to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou.
Maya’s memorial was a who’s who of world leaders and big names. More than that, it was a great illustration of how far her influence reached and the vast array of lives that she touched. Maya’s grandson, Elliott Jones, opened the service with a reading on Maya’s famous poem “Still I Rise.”
Calling Maya her “spiritual queen mother,” Oprah Winfrey fought back tears as she told everyone about the profound impact Maya had on her life. “She was the ultimate teacher. She taught me the poetry of courage and respect,” Oprah said.
First Lady Michelle Obama also got up to pay her last respects during the memorial, sharing that Maya’s poetry has been key in the ups and downs of her life.
“Dr. Angelou’s words sustained me through every step of my journey,” Michelle said. “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.”
Bill Clinton even shared a funny story about how clever and quick-witted Maya was. Take a look!
In case you missed it this weekend, you can watch Maya’s entire memorial below. The service starts at the 13:00 mark.