Tomorrow, Myrlie Evers-Williams will become the first woman and the first layperson to deliver the invocation at a presidential swearing-in ceremony. Just as the use of Martin Luther King Jr's bible is symbolic of the civil rights struggle in this country, Mrs. Evers-Williams is herself a living legacy of that struggle, which continues.
Far too many young Americans do not learn this history, nor make connections to the past as part of where we are today and what the future holds for us as a nation.

For me there is a particular significance in her selection, since too often the role of women in the struggle has been overlooked. She represents the endurance and courage of black women—wives, sisters, daughters, and mothers—of all women who are a bedrock of strength to carry on in the face of adversity.

Though news stories about Evers-Williams selection often refer to her simply as the widow of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, who was assassinated on June 12, 1963, her widowhood is not the sum total of her being, nor of her life before and after that date almost 50 years ago.

Her courage in confronting racial hatred and pursuing justice for the almost 60 years since she became involved in the struggle for civil and human rights is a powerful example for us all.

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