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   A Historic Moment, A Dreamed Achieved

Myrlie Evers-Wiliams achieved a
childhood dream with a historic perfomance at Carnegie Hall.

s a child growing up in Vicksburg, Miss., former NAACP chairwoman Myrlie Evers-Williams took classical piano lessons. Her grandmother and aunt had dreams of her one day performing at Carnegie Hall. That dream came true in December when Evers-Williams graced the stage performing with the group Pink Martini. In addition to playing classical or President Barack Obama. She was the first woman and the first layperson to deliver the invocation during an inauguration.

On June 12, 1963, Evers-Williams's husband, NAACP Mississippi field

secretary Medgar Evers, was tragically gunned down in the driveway of his home in Jackson, Miss.

In 1994, white supremacist Byron de La Beckwith was convicted Evers' murder and sentenced to life in prison. A year later, Evers-Williams was elected chair of the NAACP national board of directors. Fifty years after her husband's tragic death and the historic March on Washington, Evers-Williams watched Obama take the oath of office using the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s traveling Bible. Here is an excerpt from her invocation: As we sing the words of belief, "This Is My Country," let us act upon the meaning that everyone is included. May the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of every woman, man, boy and girl be honored. May all your people, especially the least of these, flourish in our blessed nation. One hundred-fifty


years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years after the March on Washington, we celebrate the spirit of our ancestors, which has allowed us to move from a nation of unborn hopes and a history of disenfranchised votes, to today's expression of a more perfect union.We ask, too, Almighty, that where our paths seem blanketed by throngs of oppression and riddled by pangs of despair, we ask for your guidance toward the light of deliverance and that the vision of those who came before us and dreamed of this day, that we recognize that their visions still inspire us. They are a great cloud of witnesses unseen by the naked eye, but all around us, thankful that their living was not in vain.

— Lottie L. Joiner



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