Full Coverage: Maya Angelou's Memorial Service - New York News

Full Coverage: Maya Angelou's Memorial Service

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A private memorial service was held today for Maya Angelou at Wake Forest University. It was titled "A Celebration of Rising Joy."

The poet and author died last week at the age of 86 in her home. The service was inside the Wait Chapel, which seats 2,250 people.

First Lady Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey were among the guest speakers at the service.

Winfrey organized the memorial to honor Angelou’s legacy.

Former students of Maya Angelou say they were honored and lucky to take her class. The poetry she introduced to them has had a lasting impact on their lives.

Matthew Williams, a 2009 Wake Forest University graduate, recalls sitting in her class soaking in every word she said.

"I remember learning a Shakespearean sonnet and she talked about that being very inspirational to her when she was a young girl in Arkansas and how Shakespeare so elegantly captured her experience when she was mute for a good number of years," Williams said.

Dawn Calhoun, another former student, says Angelou taught her to have courage and represent people of all backgrounds. She says although Angelou passed away, her legacy will live on for years to come.

"She has done so much for this world and individuals," Calhoun said. "What she had told us and always told us was, 'When you're my student, you're my student for life."

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