This Saturday, June 7th, a private memorial service will be held at Wake Forest’s Wait Chapel on at 10 am for Maya Angelou, who died last week.
While it will be a private service for family and friends (due in part to limited seating capacity), Wake Forest will be live-streaming it online for the rest of the world to watch. The university has set up an online location at http://mayaangelou.wfu.edu/memorial-service/livestream/, where streaming will take place.
The school says Angelou’s family will be planning additional events in other cities across the country, but specifics have yet to be released. Her son, Guy B. Johnson, will release information about these future events at a later date.
A public service was held last Thursday at Angelou’s church, Mount Zion Baptist Church, in Winston-Salem. The private service will offer some logistical challenges. In addition to Winfrey, Angelou counted President Clinton among her friends, and she was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House by President Obama. The campus is anticipating the high profile guests and the crowd they could bring.
The campus is no stranger to increased security, and unfortunately there’s already one issue that’s arisen related to what’s happening here this weekend. Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, known for it’s opposition to gay rights, says it’s planning to protest Angelou’s funeral because of her support.
“We’re aware of what’s been said about a particular protest group, we’ll be prepared for it,” said Kevin Cox, Wake Forest University’s spokesman. The group 2 Million Bikers to DC plans a ride to protect the funeral procession.
Prior to her death, Dr. Angelou had been a faculty member at Wake Forest since 1982. The university’s president had this to say about the revered figure:
“Dr. Angelou was a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world, including countless students, faculty, and staff at Wake Forest, where she served as Reynolds Professor of American Studies since 1982. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Angelou’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
“Maya Angelou has been a towering figure — at Wake Forest and in American culture. She had a profound influence in civil rights and racial reconciliation. We will miss profoundly her lyrical voice and always keen insights,” Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch said on Wednesday.