WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The widow of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers will deliver the invocation at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration on Jan. 21.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Tuesday that Myrlie Evers-Williams would deliver the prayer. It comes 50 years after her husband was gunned down in the driveway of his Mississippi home. The inauguration falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
According to The Washington Post, Evers-Williams is believed to be the first person to give the invocation who is not a clergy member.
“I would imagine that even people who are made somewhat uncomfortable by the allusions to religion in such public moments will find an invocation by the widow of a martyr to be moving and poignant,” author Jon Meacham told the Post. “This is as unifying a gesture as a president could make, it seems to me.”
Evers-Williams is a distinguished scholar at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss. She was chairwoman of the NAACP from 1995 to 1998.
Inaugural organizers said the Rev. Louie Giglio of Atlanta’s Passion City Church will deliver the benediction for Obama’s swearing-in.
In a statement, Obama says Evers-Williams and Giglio represent ideals of justice, equality and opportunity that he pursues.
In 2009, the Rev. Rick Warren delivered the invocation.
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