medgar evers widow myrlie evers williams invocation obama inauguration gi Medgar Evers' widow, Myrlie Evers Williams, will speak at Obama's inauguration

The widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, Myrlie Evers-Williams will make history on January 21 when she becomes the first woman and the first lay person to deliver the invocation at President Obama‘s swearing-in for a second term as President.

Evers-Williams will be joined in the ceremony by Reverend Louie Giglio of Atlanta’s Passion City Church. Giglio, a conservative evangelical pastor, will deliver the benediction at the end of the public ceremony.

President Obama will take the oath of office for his second term in a private ceremony on Jan. 20. Evers-Williams and Giglio will the participate in the public ceremony on the next day. Jan. 21 also marks the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Myrlie Evers-Williams came to prominence in 1963 when her husband (who had been the Mississippi field secretary of the NAACP) was shot in his driveway. She spent three decades fighting for justice in his case and also served as the chair of the NAACP in the 1990s.

President Obama explained his choices in a statement on Tuesday (Jan. 8): “Vice President Biden and I are honored that Myrlie Evers-Williams and Rev. Louie Giglio will participate in the Inaugural ceremony. Their voices have inspired many people across this great nation within the faith community and beyond. Their careers reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans — justice, equality and opportunity.”

Posted by:Laurel Brown