Maya Angelou memorial at Wake Forest only official local service

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The private memorial service for Maya Angelou on Saturday at Wake Forest University will be the only one planned for Winston-Salem, Katie Neal, a spokeswoman for the university, said Tuesday, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. 

Angelou, celebrated poet, actress and activist, died Wednesday at her home in Winston-Salem after a long illness.

She was 86.

Her family has planned the private memorial service for 10 a.m. Saturday in Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel, university officials announced Monday.

Oprah Winfrey, a close personal friend of Angelou’s, is expected to speak and was inside Wait Chapel Monday with a group helping plan the service.

Angelou’s church, Mount Zion Baptist, held a service for Angelou the day after she died.

The university said the family decided to have a closed service for only family and friends because of limited seating capacity.

Wait Chapel seats 2,250 people. Neal has said the campus will be closed Saturday and the only people allowed on campus will be guests who have tickets and parking passes for the service, credentialed media and cars registered at Wake Forest.

Chief Barry Rountree said Winston-Salem police will be working with Wake Forest police during the memorial service.

Neal said Tuesday that other memorial series are planned elsewhere, including in San Francisco on June 15.

Cedric Russell of Russell Funeral Home, who helped with the arrangements, said it was a privilege and an honor to serve the family.

“What can you say about one of the greatest minds we’ve known?” said Russell. “What can be said that hasn’t already been said? We are grateful for the opportunity to serve, and I know that God is looking with favor on her.”