Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, was one of only two women invited to speak at the landmark 1963 March on Washington. Unable to attend 50 years ago, Evers-Williams made an impassioned call for justice on Washington D.C.’s National Mall Saturday.
“Make ‘stand your ground’ a positive thing for all of us who believe in freedom, justice and equality,” Evers-Willaims said.
“We [must] stand firm on the ground that we have already made and be sure that nothing is taken away from us,” she implored the crowd of thousands gathered to commemorate the march.
Reflecting on the 1963 march, Evers-Williams told NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell Monday, “I think that my generation has failed in the sense that we have not been able to transfer the urgency of that particular time forward.”
Her late husband, civil rights leader Medgar Evers, was killed weeks before the march by a white supremacist, in front of his own home.
“If I may say it this way, I’ve been through a living hell, but with friends, with prayer and whatnot, I’ve been able to rise above all of that and take the negatives and turn it into something positive,” Evers-Williams told Mitchell.
She later became chair of the NAACP–an election she won by only one vote.
“I was told in so many ways and by so many people, particularly men, you can’t do this job. And I had to remind them that evidently they had not read my resume and seen what I had done personally on my own, and that I was the widow of Medgar Evers, but I was my own woman with my own accomplishments,” she said.
Watch Andrea Mitchell’s interview with Myrlie Evers-Williams below: