Dr. Maya Angelou’s life was celebrated today (Jun. 7) as her friends and family gathered for a memorial service in honor of the world-renowned poet and author. Aptly held at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem where she taught for three years, speakers at the service included Oprah Winfrey, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Take a look at each of their speeches in Angelou’s honor below:
Oprah Winfrey: “She was in all ways, no matter the time of day or night or the situations, she was always there for me to be the rainbow. And I’m here today to say thank you, to acknowledge to you all and to the world, how powerful one life can be: the life of Maya Angelou.”
Bill Clinton: “We could all just be up here talking about how Maya Angelou represented a big piece of America’s history, and triumphed over adversity, and proved how dumb racism is. But here great gift in her action-packed life was she was always paying attention. And by the time she started writing her books and her poetry, what she was basically doing was calling our attention to the things she’d been paying attention to.’
Michelle Obama: “Maya Angelou, now she was the original. She was the master. For at a time when there were such stifling constraints on how black women could exist in the world, she serenely disregarded all the rules with fiercely passionate unapologetic self. She was comfortable in every inch of her gloriously brown skin.”