Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers and a civil rights leader, will be leaving the board of directors of the NAACP after 30 years as an official of the nation’s most venerable civil rights organization.
Evers Williams, who will still have the honorary title as chair emeritus of the NAACP, had been deeply involved in the organization and in civil rights issues over the course of the last 50 years.
Last year, she delivered the invocation at the inauguration of President Obama in Washington, although she is not a member of the clergy.
“I come from a deeply religious family, and I had a very religious grandmother and we learned the power of prayer,” she said, in an interview with BET.com. “Does one have to be a clergyman to pray publicly? I don’t think so. I would like to think that I have exemplified a persona that speaks to my faith.”
Because of harsh winter weather, she was unable to attend the board meeting in New York, where the announcement was to be made.
“I was called. I delivered, and it’s time for me to step aside and let someone else come in and I hope it will be a more youthful person to take that particular spot,” she said, speaking with the Washington Post.
The move comes just months after Benjamin Todd Jealous announced he was stepping down as president and chief executive of the organization.
Evers-Williams is a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Alcorn State University in Mississippi, which is the school where she and Medgar Evers met.
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(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)