Activist encourages graduates to ‘soar and be free’
Declaring her belief in their individual and combined power, renowned civil rights activist and author Myrlie Evers-Williams challenged University of Mississippi graduating seniors to become active in making the state, nation and world a better place for all people.
“I believe in you, and I hope you believe in yourselves, too,” Evers-Williams said Saturday (May 11) as she delivered the main address at the university’s 160th Commencement. “Soar! Not only for yourselves, nor just for the betterment of Mississippi, but for betterment of all mankind. Soar, and be free.”
Evers-Williams, who worked for more than 30 years to seek justice for the 1963 murder of her well-known civil rights activist husband, Medgar Evers, is a former chairwoman of the NAACP and is widely credited with restoring the organization’s reputation and saving it from bankruptcy. Most recently, she delivered the invocation at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, becoming the first woman to deliver a prayer at a presidential inauguration.