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Programs >> Women's Leadership Initiatives >> Lindy Boggs Award >> Myrlie Evers Williams, 1999
Myrlie Evers Williams, 1999

 As the first full-time chairman of the NAACP and a popular speaker, as a committed activist and the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, as a powerful businesswoman breaking racial and gender barriers in corporate boardrooms and municipal government, Myrlie Evers-Williams is one of the most respected African-Americans in the United States. Her dignity and perseverance in bringing her husband's killer to justice-a battle she waged for more than thirty years-have made her an inspiration and role model for millions of women of all ages and races.

Evers-Williams is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and a graduate of Pomona College. 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. Schools throughout the nation used them in classroom activities.

In 1987, Evers-Williams was the first African-American woman appointed to serve as commissioner on the Los Angeles Board of Public Works. Determined to continue as an active participant in her struggle for justice and equality, she lectures extensively before civil rights groups, women's organizations, social groups, universities and corporations. Her role model to young people has encouraged many to pursue careers in law, education and social services.

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." This credo has carried her through years of struggle and success. She lives in Oregon.