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Civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams looks back on her incredible journey

Myrlie Evers-Williams on her incredible journey
Civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams on her incredible journey 01:57

Claremont, California — Myrlie Evers-Williams says she has never lived a day of her 90 years without love.

But she has undoubtedly battled hate. As the widow of the late civil rights icon Medgar Evers, together, they fought racial injustice in Mississippi.

"Our fear of losing each other was real," Evers-Williams told CBS News. 

On June 12, 1963, Evers was assassinated at their home in Jackson, Mississippi.

"There was the love of my life, shot by the door of his car as he was getting out," Evers-Williams said.

She had promised her late husband that if anything happened, she and their children would move to California.

"I was determined to see that my husband's life would not be in vain," Evers-Williams said.

It was a mission that started with Evers-Williams earning a college degree in 1968 from Pomona College in Claremont, California.

"I never felt safe anywhere, but Pomona College was the safest place that I knew of," Evers-Williams said.

That safe space will now be home to her personal archival collection, which includes newspapers, handwritten letters and priceless photos showing a life lived.

Evers-Williams remarried, became chairwoman of the NAACP, ran for Congress, and in January 2013 — at then-President Barack Obama's inauguration — became the first woman to deliver the invocation at a presidential inauguration.

Myrlie Evers-Williams
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden listen to an invocation by Myrlie Evers-Williams during the 57th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington, D.C.  JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Every detail has been saved, Evers-Williams said, serving as a lesson to future generations.

"To see if they can search those pages and find hidden solutions to the problems that we have today," Evers-Williams said. "To realize that there is hope for all of us to do better."

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