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Myrlie Evers-Williams
Born Myrlie Beasley
March 17, 1933 (1933-03-17) (age 76)
Vicksburg, Mississippi USA
Nationality American
Ethnicity Black
Citizenship American
Education Alcorn A&M College
Pomona College
Occupation activist
Spouse(s) Medgar Evers 1951–1963 (his death)
Walter Williams 1975–1995 (his death)

Myrlie Evers-Williams (born March 17, 1933 in Vicksburg, Mississippi) née Myrlie Beasley is an American activist. She was the first full-time chairman of the NAACP and is the former widow of murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers. She met him when they were students at Alcorn A&M College in 1950. They married on December 24, 1951 and she left school before finishing her degree.

They moved to Mound Bayou where her husband sold insurance for Dr. T.R.M. Howard, a civil rights activist. She worked for Howard as a typist until the couple moved to Jackson in 1954.[1]

She and Evers had three children before his murder. In 2001, their oldest son, Darrell Kenyatta Evers, died of colon cancer.[1] Their two surviving children are Reena Denise and James Van.

Evers-Williams went back to school after Evers' death and graduated from Pomona College, in 1968, with a degree in sociology. She served as director of consumer affairs for Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), where she developed the concept for the first corporate booklet on women in non-traditional jobs. This booklet, Women at ARCO, was in great demand throughout many printings and revisions.

She twice ran for congress from California's 24th congressional district. Both times (in a June 1970 special election and the general election later that November) she lost to Republican John Rousselot. In 1971 she helped found the National Women's Political Caucus.

In 1975, Evers-Williams married her second husband, Walter Williams. He died in 1995 of prostate cancer.

In 1987, Evers-Williams was the first African-American woman appointed to serve as commissioner on the Los Angeles Board of Public Works. Evers-Williams was chairman of the NAACP from 1995 to 1998. She is credited with spearheading the operations that restored the association to its original status as the premier civil rights organization in America. She is the author of For Us, the Living (1967) and Watch Me Fly: What I Learned On the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be (1999). In the best seller, I Dream A World: Black Women Who Changed America, Evers-Williams states that she "greets today and the future with open arms."

Electoral history

Year Office Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1970 U.S House of Representatives
District 24(special election)
Myrlie Evers 29,248 31.8% John Rousselot 62,749 68.2%
1970 U.S House of Representatives
District 24 (general election)
Myrlie Evers 61,777 32.4% John Rousselot 124,07 65.1%


  1. ^ David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009)

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