SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced that a celebration of the life of renowned poet and civil rights leader Maya Angelou will be held at the city’s Glide Memorial Church this Sunday following her death last month at the age of 86.
Angelou, known for her 1969 autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and other literary works, was also a singer, actress, and activist with many Bay Area ties from her younger years and during her career.
She moved to the Bay Area as a young teenager and lived some of her teenage years in San Francisco’s Fillmore District. She attended Mission High School and also studied dance and drama.
She called herself San Francisco’s first black female streetcar conductor after she secured a summer job with the Market Street Railway Company when she was 16.
According to interviews with Angelou over the years, she waited at the railway company offices for two weeks until she was hired despite her race and gender.
According to the Market Street Railway non-profit historic preservation group, Angelou was likely not the first black employee, but part of a pioneering group of African-American workers at the company.
To celebrate the illustrious life of Angelou, who was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, her friends and colleagues at Glide Memorial Church will hold the Dr. Maya Angelou Celebration of Life at 1 p.m. Sunday.
At the ceremony, Mayor Lee, Glide co-founders the Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani, and other dignitaries will share songs, poetry and speeches at the church, located at 330 Ellis St.
Angelou was a member of the Glide community and was an honorary host for many events over the years. Glide officials said in a statement that “she inspired local and global communities to embrace love, faith and each other.”
Angelou died May 28 at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is survived by her son Guy Johnson and grandchildren and other relatives.Her funeral was held Saturday in North Carolina with First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey speaking about Angelou’s achievements and legacy.
The Glide Memorial ceremony is free and open to the public, but there is limited seating in the church. There will be an overflow viewing area, according to church officials.
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