Tributes to Maya Angelou at star-studded US memorial service

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Tributes to Maya Angelou at star-studded US memorial service

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Maya Angelou has been remembered at a star-studded memorial service, with warm tributes paid to the US poet, author and civil rights champion who died last month aged 86.

She read a poem at Bill Clinton’s first presidential inauguration in 1993. In his eulogy, he praised her belief in dignity, love and kindness.

She was also a friend and mentor to US media legend Oprah Winfrey who told the congregation that: “She was my spiritual Queen Mother and everything that that word implies.”

First Lady Michelle Obama also spoke in the chapel of North Carolina’s Wake Forest University where Maya Angelou taught for decades.

“She touched me, she touched all of you,” she said.

“She touched people all across the globe, including a young, white woman from Kansas who named her daughter after Maya and raised her son to be the first black president of the United States.”

Angelou wrote more than 30 books of fiction, poetry and memoir during her prodigious career. She is best known for her 1969 autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” about growing up in America’s segregated South.

That pioneering work helped give black women writers a literary voice and became a reading list staple in US classrooms.