Widow of Civil Rights Leader Medgar Evers Will Give Opening Prayer at Obama’s Inauguration
Report from Washington Post:
President Obama has picked Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights icon Medgar Evers, to deliver the invocation at his public swearing-in later this month. It is believed to be the first time a woman, and a layperson rather than a clergy member, has been chosen to deliver what may be America’s most prominent public prayer.
In a statement released by the inaugural committee, the president said the careers of Evers-Williams and Giglio “reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans – justice, equality and opportunity.”
Also, In a statement issued by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Evers-Williams said “it is indeed an exhilarating experience to have the distinct honor of representing” the civil rights era at the Jan. 21 event.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the murder of Evers, who was the NAACP’s Mississippi field secretary at the time of his death. Myrlie Evers-Williams spent decades fighting to win a conviction of her late husband’s shooter, and served as chairman of the NAACP in the 1990s.
“I would imagine that even people who are made somewhat uncomfortable by the allusions to religion in such public moments will find an invocation by the widow of a martyr to be moving and poignant,” said author Jon Meacham, who has written on religion in American history. “This is as unifying a gesture as a president could make, it seems to me.”
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