Winston Salem honors Maya Angelou at memorial service - | WBTV Charlotte

Winston-Salem prepares for Maya Angelou's memorial service

Over the years, Maya Angelou was friend to us here in Charlotte. She hosted fund raisers that helped local United Negro College Fund campuses in our area like Johnson C. Smith University and Livingstone in Salisbury.

Widely known for her acting abilities, Angelou even appeared in a play at Ovens Auditorium.

She died last week at age 86.

Saturday some local educators and business leaders who knew this woman who wore so many hats plan to be in Winston-Salem to pay their final respects.

The last time Wait Chapel on the Wake Forest University was in the national spotlight back was in 2000 during the Bush-Gore debate.

On Saturday morning, it will the center of attention again.

This time friends, family, and so many admirers say good bye to Dr. Maya Angelo.

Tobacco and textiles once reigned as King in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but a well-known story teller who lived here is being remembered as royalty.

Floral tributes line the driveway of the place Dr. Maya Angelou called home.

While steel barriers send a strong message, WBTV given inside access, where a street sign pays tribute to the poet laureate.

Bobby Rankin from Charlotte is heading up security at her home.

"So many people have been coming in from all over the United States, all across the country. It's been amazing," Rankin said.

As visitors arrived at the home, preparations also continued at Wake Forest University. It is the very place where Dr. Angelou taught life's lessons.

Kevin Cox is the spokesperson from Wake Forest University.

He said, "It was pretty cool to be on a campus like this and see Dr. Angelo headed to her class or meeting with a student."

While she was known as a global figure, her reach and touch felt the pulse of many things common in the local community.

She had a taste for the Soul Food at Meta's restaurant in Downtown Winston. Almetta Poole owns the eating establishment.

"She's not like anyone you would meet in the community, "Poole recalled." She just had an air of love. Just a spirit of peace."

Historically Black Winston Salem University is home to the Maya Angelo Institute.

The goal on this campus is to provide the gift of literacy to those struggling with reading.
Dr. Denise Pearson oversees the program.

"We feel that if we don't continue to build on such as initiatives I rise literacy academy, which is part of the Maya Angelo institute. We will be doing an injustice to her name," she said.

The Saturday morning service is being billed as a celebration of rising joy, and will be who's who gathering that will include a number of visitors from Hollywood's A list as well as past and present occupants of the White House.

While First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to speak, Wake Forest University announced today that former president Clinton also plans to attend.

WBTV will also carry the service on Bounce TV.

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