Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton honor Maya Angelou at service

First lady Michelle Obama and media magnate Oprah Winfrey will be among the speakers honoring poet, author and civil rights champion Maya Angelou. Credit: Reuters
First lady Michelle Obama and media magnate Oprah Winfrey will be among the speakers honoring poet, author and civil rights champion Maya Angelou.
Credit: Reuters

First lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton were among the speakers honoring poet, author and civil rights champion Maya Angelou at a private memorial service in North Carolina on Saturday.

Media magnate Oprah Winfrey and actress Cicely Tyson also paid tribute to their friend and mentor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, where Angelou taught for three decades, according to the program for the service.

Singers Lee Ann Womack and BeBe Winans were among the performers.

Clinton in his eulogy praised Angelou for her belief in dignity, love and kindness, and spoke of a time in Angelou’s childhood when she could not speak.

“And then she developed the greatest voice on the planet,” Clinton said. “God loaned her His voice. She had the voice of God, and He decided he wanted it back for awhile.”

Angelou wrote the poem “On the Pulse of Morning” and read it at Clinton’s first presidential inauguration in 1993.

She was 86 when she died at her home on May 28.

Angelou was best known for her 1969 autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” about growing up in the segregated South. That pioneering work helped give black women writers a literary voice and became a reading list staple in American classrooms.

The memoir was among a body of work including more than 30 books of fiction and poetry produced by Angelou during her prodigious career. She also was a Tony-nominated stage actress, Grammy Award winner for three spoken-word albums, civil rights activist, streetcar conductor, Calypso singer, dancer, movie director and playwright.

Michelle Obama told attendees at the service that Angelou’s inspirational message sustained her throughout her life, including when she became a mother and when she joined her husband on the campaign trail.

“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,” Michelle Obama said.

In 2011, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, was bestowed upon Angelou by President Barack Obama.

After her death, Obama said he and the first lady cherished the time they had spent with Angelou, for whom the president said his sister was named.

Winfrey called Angelou her “mentor, mother/sister and friend.”

Angelou served as a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest since 1982, and had planned to teach a course on race, culture and gender this fall, the university said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.