NAACP Chairman Myrlie Evers-Williams speaks onstage during the 41st NAACP Image awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on February 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. / Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP
Long-time civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams will deliver the invocation at President Obama's inauguration, the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) announced today.
As the widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, who was killed in his driveway in a racially charged murder in June 1963 in Jackson, Miss., her participation is significant in the second inauguration of the first black president. His murder was one of several events that year that contributed to the launch of the civil rights movement, which turns 50 this year.
Evers-Williams said she is "humbled" to have been asked to participate. "It is indeed an exhilarating experience to have the distinct honor of representing that era," she said in a statement released by the PIC.
After the death of her husband, Evers-Williams became prominent in the civil rights movement and politics, including a three-year stint running the NAACP in the late 1990s.
Additionally, Rev. Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, will deliver the benediction.
The news release said the president played a role in deciding who would deliver the invocation. "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," he said in a statement.
The inauguration also falls on the same weekend that the country celebrates the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. In honor of King, the president has determined the Saturday before the inauguration a national day of service.
The public ceremony of the inauguration will take place on Monday, January 21 but a private ceremony will occur on Sunday, January 20 in accordance with the Constitution.