Sen. Kamala Harris is the first Black woman, HBCU grad and AKA to be elected vice president. She is clearly an inspiration for many, including Oprah Winfrey. However, there is one person Oprah wishes could have seen Harris become vice president-elect — the late Maya Angelou.
Reflecting on Harris’ powerful victory speech on November 7 in Wilmington, DE, Winfrey told PEOPLE, “Wasn't that something? I must say I had a little water running, too. I got a text from Tyler Perry saying, 'I know you somewhere in the corner crying, as I am.'”
She then referenced her mentor Maya Angelou, "I was thinking the other day, 'I wish Maya [Angelou] were alive to see it.’ But maybe she's working it on the other side. Because there's no way to measure the what the election of Kamala Harris means for all women, all colors, everywhere."
Angelou was a poet, author, professor, civil rights activist, dancer, recording artist and singer. Born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, she emerged as a literary voice with the 1969 publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first in a series of autobiographical novels. Like Kamala Harris, she too is a member of the first African American sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. She was inducted as an honorary member into the organization in 1983.
Her life and literary work led to President Obama awarding her the Medal of Freedom in 2011, America’s highest civilian honor.
On May 27, 2014, the legend passed away at the age of 86 at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Winfrey also shared her thoughts on Harris making history, “I think what she means for women of the world is so extraordinary. For women here in the United States, we can't even measure it. Because to see someone who looks like you in this role, you see what's possible for yourself. Period."
"And the generational impact: You can't put a price on it,” the 66-year-old continued. “You can't put a measurement on it. I'm just hoping we get through the inauguration and turn the page on this really challenging time for democracy."
Winfrey added, “This election was one of the most important I've ever been alive to witness. For me, what was really at stake, beyond all of the policy issues, was character and decency ... and that's what I was voting for."
Watch Sen. Kamala Harris’ victory speech below: