Melissa Harris-Perry opened up on Saturday about the very direct and personal influence that the late Maya Angelou had on her life.
Harris-Perry was a student of Angelou's, but, as she recounted, their relationship became much more than that:
Dr. Angelou included me in her holiday meals. She afforded me opportunities to travel. She guided my choice of graduate school, and years later, she even hosted my wedding reception at her home. I was 18 when I met Dr. Angelou. I knew nothing, and I didn't even have enough sense to know I knew so little. She simply could have graded my papers and sent me away, but instead, she became my beloved mentor and guide. Her generosity was unparalleled, but she wasn't even a little bit sentimental...Dr. Angelou is the reason I believed it was possible to be a teacher and a writer and a parent and to have a public persona. She was—she is—my model of how to fully live and how to do so with integrity.