Women's efforts in civil rights often overlooked, Evers-Williams says

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The contribution women have made to the civil rights movement often go overlooked, says the first female chair of the NAACP.

Myrlie Evers-Williams, who became the head of the NAACP in 1995, said women were in some ways the backbone of the civil rights movement as she spoke to reporters during a news conference preceding Southeast Missouri State University's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner.

"So many women go unnoticed," Evers-Williams said, but they were the behind-the-scenes force behind the civil rights movement. Evers-Williams said Coretta Scott King was the person who helped keep Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. committed to his cause, as she did with her slain husband, Medgar Evers.

However, Evers-Williams hopes women will soon be an important part of the civil rights history taught in American classrooms.

"I'm beginning to hear rumblings of colleges and universities coming together to address that issue," she said. "There's a wealth of information about the strength and dignity of women throughout the movement, and we should be working today to strengthen female leadership."

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