lady, Oprah to honor Maya Angelou at memorial service
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[June 07, 2014]
By Colleen Jenkins
WINSTON-SALEM N.C. (Reuters) - First lady
Michelle Obama and media magnate Oprah Winfrey will be among the
speakers honoring poet, author and civil rights champion Maya Angelou at
a private memorial service in North Carolina on Saturday.
Former President Bill Clinton is also scheduled to attend the
tribute at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, where Angelou
taught for three decades, the school said.
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 was also 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.
In 2011, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest
civilian honor, was bestowed upon her by President Barack Obama.
After her death, President Obama said he and the first lady
cherished the time they had spent with Angelou, for whom the
president said his sister was named.
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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.
(editing by Gunna Dickson)
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