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Widow of slain civil rights leader addresses grads

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Updated: 5/11/2013 10:40 pm
OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - Myrlie Evers-Williams addressed the 2013 graduating class at the University of Mississippi Saturday.

She spoke about how her life took a markedly different path after her husband, civil rights activist Medgar Evers, was shot and killed nearly 50 years ago.

Since her husband's death, Williams has become a community leader in her own right with a purpose like no other.

"When that bullet struck Medgar, tore his chest and he fell forward, that that was a six-foot, two-inch forwardness into justice and equality," Evers-Williams said.

Since that day in 1963, Evers-Williams has has been on a crusade.

If she had one wish, it would for her late husband to see progress being made.

"I wish Medgar could have lived to have seen all these positive changes take place," said Evers-Williams. "[However,] I am reminded that there is still so much to be done."

There were several messages delivered by Evers-Williams to the Ole Miss graduating class, but if one message stood out amongst all of them, it would be for these students to continue pursuing their dreams.

"The challenge that I gave to the graduates is to get involved not only in the communities but beyond, to realize that they have the strength and the power to make positive changes throughout our nation," adds Williams.

Her perseverance is a reflection of what one can do when determined and she echoed that message to the next generation.

"Our commencement speaker told them to soar high and I agree with that," Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones said. "They're powerful as she pointed out, but there's a world of opportunity out there and they need to go make the world a better place."

"They freed all of us from a system that was unfair and we have progressed since we got rid of Jim Crowe," added former Mississippi Gov. William Winter. "I was so impressed with the words that she unveiled today."

Her motto was "live and give," which she says can go a long way, no matter how insurmountable the odds may be.
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