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D.C.'s Former First Lady Has Her Own Juice

Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou celebrated her 80th birthday last weekend at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach with a few of her closest celebrity friends, including a hometown one, Cora Masters Barry.


Cora Masters Barry with writer Susan Taylor. Last weekend she was with Taylor again, and the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump for a celebration of Maya Angelou's 80th birthday. (The Washington Post)

Oprah hosted the three-day affair, with a star-studded guest list that included Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Cecily Tyson, Andrew Young, Susan Taylor, Tyler Perry, Michael Eric Dyson and Dr. Dorothy Height.

The District's former first lady, who has been friends with Angelou for some 20 years, said friends traveled from as far as Africa to participate in the occasion.

"It was like a big family reunion," Barry said. "It was fascinating and heart-warming to see how Oprah pulled out all the stops for her mentor and mother friend."

Trump and his wife, Melania, also joined in the festivities. At Sunday's gospel bunch, Trump "was getting his praise on," said Barry, who has known Trump since her days of being on the city's Boxing Commission.

"He was gracious and very involved," she said. "I have never seen him so relaxed."

It was only fitting that Barry celebrate Angelou's birthday. She's part of an inner circle of friends who have celebrated the last four Thanksgivings together in Winston-Salem. Angelou cited an original poem at Barry's wedding in 1994 to D.C. Council member and former mayor Marion Barry. She also performed at Marion Barry's inauguration in January 1995, after he was elected for the fourth time. And more recently, Angelou came to Cora Barry's daughter, Tamara Masters Lawson's wedding in 2006.

By Yolanda Woodlee  |  April 11, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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