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As Apollo Theater Honors Maya Angelou’s Memory, Westboro Church Prepares to Spread Hate

As the memory of the brilliant Maya Angelou was lovingly commemorated in Harlem through a message on the marquee at the Apollo Theater, the infamously hateful Westboro Baptist Church appears to be planning to bring its campaign of bigotry to Angelou’s funeral.

The Kansas-based church, which has become well known for picketing public events with nasty, controversial, bigoted signage, has asked its Twitter followers to provide information on Angelou’s funeral. The church also put up a stream of hateful invective on its Twitter stream, such as “#mayaangelou spent many of her 86 yrs on f-g’s favorite misdirection, pretending f-gging off is like being black.”

Other signs Westboro picketers have used at public events include, “THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS” and “GOD HATES F-GS.”

In Harlem, the Apollo had the following message on its marquee:

“In Memory of Maya Angelou, a True American Icon, 1928-2014.”

The Apollo’s in-house historian, Billy Mitchell, who has worked there for 49 years, told the Voice of America News about his memories of Angelou.

“What a regal lady she was! Very graceful. That beautiful smile.  ‘How are you, ​young man?’ I could have melted right there,” he said. “Because I meet so many people here and there are just a few that really make me feel a little strange and giddy and groupie-like. And she was one of those people that did that for me, absolutely. ​

“We all adored Maya. Her words made us feel proud. She understood our struggle. She understood what it was like to be poor and to be hungry and she made something of herself.  Young kids are still reciting her poetry: ‘and still I rise. I rise. I rise.'”

Angelou’s funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Mount Zion Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, will hold a memorial service to honor Angelou at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at 950 File St. The memorial will be open to the public.

Angelou was a member of the church for over 30 years.

It remains unclear if the funeral will be open to the public.

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