Myrlie Evers-Williams Leaving NAACP Board After 3 Decades

The civil rights leader may be stepping down from the board of the leading organization, but that doesn’t mean her activism is done. 

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Myrlie Evers-Williams at the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 2013

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams will step down from the board of the NAACP, marking an end to her 30 years as an official of the civil rights organization. Evers-Williams, who will retain the honorary title of chair emeritus, had hoped to be in New York for the NAACP’s board meeting on Friday to officially make the announcement, but inclement weather kept her home in Mississippi.

“I was called. I delivered, and it’s time for me to step aside and let someone else come in and I hope it will be a more youthful person to take that particular spot,” she said in a phone interview from her home on the campus of Alcorn State University, a black land-grant university not far from Vicksburg, where she is a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence. It is also where she met her late husband, Medgar Evers.

Evers-Williams has spent much of the last year honoring the memory of Medgar, NAACP’s first field director in Mississippi. In 1963 he was felled by an assassin’s bullet. For a half hour she spoke about her plans to build on her husband’s legacy, the NAACP’s future and the memoir she is writing. This conversation has been lightly edited.

She the People: Why have you decided not to seek re-election for your seat on NAACP’s board?

Myrlie Evers-Williams: At this point in my life I am very interested in writing my memoirs, focusing on my years with the NAACP, but particularly the years when I was chairman of the board. Those were pivotal years for the organization and in my life. I do believe that we in the NAACP need to encourage and make space for our young leaders of today. Unfortunately there will always be people who do not embrace justice and equality for all, therefore it’s a need to constantly build and infuse in the minds of young people that this is America; that this is a country where we say all people are created equal. We often say we need new blood in organizations and that is true for the NAACP.

Read the full interview at the Washington Post.