June 7 - Oprah Winfrey gave an emotional tribute during Maya Angelou's memorial service, as she -- along with Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and others -- honored her accomplished life. Jillian Kitchener reports.
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A memorial for the legendary Maya Angelou brought star power - and sensitivity -- together.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) OPRAH WINFREY SAYING:
"The loss I feel I cannot describe. It's like something I have never felt before. She was my spiritual Queen Mother and everything that the word implies."
The poet, author and civil rights activist passed away May 28th.
But the day's service celebrated her exceptional life.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT CLINTON SAYING:
"We could all just be up here talking about how Maya Angelou represented a big piece of America's history and triumphed over adversity."
She certainly did triumph.
The outspoken author was mute for six years during her childhood, dealing with the trauma of rape and her assailant's murder.
She faced racism in the 1930's and 40's. Her American classic "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" spoke of those trying years.
And it helped give black women writers a literary voice.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA SAYING:
"And in doing so she paved the way for me and Oprah and so many others just to be our 'good old' black woman selves. She showed us that eventually if we stay true to who we are then the world would embrace us. And she did this not just for black women but for all women, for all human beings. She taught us that it is OK to be your regular old self, whatever that is. Your poor self, your broken self, your brilliant, bold, phenomenal self."
Today, that phenomenal life was honored at Wake Forest University - where she served as a professor of American Studies.
And planned to teach a course on race, culture and gender this fall.
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