Oprah in Winston-Salem to help plan Maya Angelou’s memorial service at WFU

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Oprah was in Winston-Salem on Monday to help Maya Angelou’s family plan her memorial service.

Credit: WGHP / Joe McCloskey

Credit: WGHP / Joe McCloskey

Oprah was inside Wait Chapel at Wake Forest until 1 p.m. Monday with a group helping to plan the memorial service.

The family has arranged a private memorial service in Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel at 10 a.m. Saturday. Angelou’s family decided to have a closed service for family and friends only, due to limited seating capacity.

"We are limiting access to the campus, to those who are invited and to those who need to be here,” said University Spokesman Kevin Cox.

Oprah and a handful of others were in Wait Chapel for at least a half hour. They discussed seating arrangements, where the family will watch from and how the chapel will be decorated. For the university, it’s an honor to host the services for a woman they say gave them so much.

"We expect that her impact on us will go on for years and years,” said Cox.

It is unclear as to who will be in attendance, but university officials say they’re confident they can keep them and the campus safe.

"We've hosted every kind of possible event on this campus that have had extremely high levels of security, and lower levels, and we're prepared to meet whatever the need is,” said Cox.

University officials say even though they have a traffic management plan, people living in the Wake Forest area should anticipate heavy traffic on Saturday morning.

Angelou died Wednesday in her Winston-Salem home. She was 86. She had been reportedly battling health problems.

Angelou’s family will be planning additional celebrations of her life in other cities across the country, according to Wake Forest.

Oprah tweeted on Sunday night she was at Angelou’s home “sitting at her kitchen table.”


  • green

    Maya was like a mother to Oprah, so you know she would be involved. It’s only the right thing to do.

  • Edith Davis

    Dr Maya Angelo us was one of the great black Women in America and a blessing to all woman and will Spoke poem write in the world she always spoke for the heart and soul and Oprah was like one of her own child they love each as mother and daughter we love you Dr Maya your going but your soul live on RIP in Peace Dr Maya Angelo going but not forgotten

  • Rosa Bogar

    This is the fitting place to have the memorial for Maya Angelou. Maya taught that one can be educated without a college education and one can teach college without a college degree. We all can LEARN from that. Thanks, Dr. Maya Angelou

  • April Floyd

    Dr. Maya Angelou inspiration goes far beyond ethnicity, religion and gender. Her strength, even in her youth was something to marvel at. Although, the world will miss her presence, she has left behind treasures in her recorded writtings and speaches. Never will she be forgotten. RIP our queen, Dr. Maya Angelou.

  • cenee

    Given honor where Greatness was due, given justice where Fairness was due, given liberty where Freedom was due, still she handled every task , every situation, every challenge with dignity, humbleness, and respect for all. Thank you Dr. Maya Angelou for sharing your talent with the world.

  • CC

    I can understand the family wanting a small service, but with such a world-wide presence as Dr Angelou, it would have been nice for the public to have been able to come. My high school pep rallies were in front of more folks (here in Winston-Salem, too). Maybe some official body or other university locally will do something grand and nice for her, where we can all pay our respects. I hope so!

  • Rosa Bogar

    “Maya embraced her Blackness, she kept her head wrapped tight she never wore wigs as she weaved her way through life.”

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