Wake Forest celebrates the life of Dr. Maya Angelou

Wake Forest celebrates the life of Dr. Maya Angelou
April 07
00:00 2016
Photo by Tevin Stinson
Rosa Johnson, a relative of the late Dr. Maya Angelou talks about how the civil rights activist saved her life during a celebration at SECCA on Thursday.



Earlier this week Dr. Maya Angelou would have turned 88, and while the civil rights activist, author, and educator is no longer with us, her words continue to live on and inspire.

Last Friday, the words of the champion of civil rights echoed through the halls of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art as a number of students and faculty members from Wake Forest University performed selections of Dr. Angelou’s poetry during a celebration of her life.

Throughout the event, faculty members, students, and a number of Angelou’s family members talked about how she impacted their lives.

“I feel like I am a part of her lineage and what she represented,” said poet and performance artist Nina Foster.

“Her words are living on through me. I am able to feel myself and understand myself through her words.”

One close relative Matema said her great aunt inspired her to start writing. She also noted that Angelou often encouraged her to read as much poetry as she could out loud, so that it would continue to live and resonate through her mind. As she battled to hold back tears, Matema said she will always carry her great aunt with her.

“There’s so much of her that I hold in my heart,” she continued. “She will always be with us.”

Angelou’s niece Rosa Johnson said after the death of her son, Angelou persuaded her to move from California to Winston-Salem. Johnson noted, if it wasn’t for the love and compassion that Angelou showed her during her time of grief, she never would have made it through.

“My aunt saved my life many times. It was truly a blessing to be around her,” Johnson said.

One of Angelou’s former students, Rogan Kersh, who now serves as the provost of the university said students were always eager to attend Angelou’s lessons. Kersh noted Dr. Angelou pushed her students to think more creatively, read more thoroughly, and dream more magically.

“We learned so many things from Maya Angelou,” said Kersh. “Perhaps the most important thing we learned is that respect should be bestowed freely.”

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors