Maya Angelou touched the lives of many who spoke at her memorial service on Saturday at Wake Forest University. The university is where she taught for 32 years as Dr. Angelou, though she never graduated from college.
During her lifetime she lived larger than most even dream of. She changed the way the world as a whole was looked at by some of the biggest names is showbusiness, politics, and those of her friends that spoke anonymously on Saturday of her resonant voice and life force.
First Lady Michelle Obama said of her first encounters with Maya Angelou’s work, “Her voice lifted me right out of my own little head. She told us that our worth has nothing to do with what the world might say. Instead, she said, each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. She reminded us that we must each find our own voice, decide our own value, and then announce it to the world with all the pride and joy that is our birthright as members of the human race.”
Obama was among many famous faces that came to speak of the impact that Maya Angelou had on their lives. Another was Bill Clinton, who enjoyed the privilege of having her read her poem On the Pulse of Morning at his 1993 inauguration. He recalled how she found her voice again after refusing to speak for five years when her mother’s boyfriend raped her as a child.
“She was without a voice for five years and then she developed the greatest voice on the planet. God loaned her His voice,” Clinton said. “She had the voice of God. And he decided he wanted it back.”
And of course long time friend and supporter Oprah Winfrey was on hand to say goodbye to the most influential woman in her life. She said, “Maya Angelou is the greatest woman I have ever known.” Then almost sobbing, she added, “She was my anchor. So it’s hard to describe to you what it means when your anchor shifts.”
Some beautiful words for a beautiful woman and an incredibly influential icon of our times.
Image Via Wikimedia Commons