Myrlie Evers-Williams keynoted MLK Breakfast

Medgar Evers’ widow recalled the sacrifices of her generation

Myrlie Evers-Williams (Photo courtesy of General Mills)

There is a long tradition of celebration for lost loved ones and people who have done honorary work throughout their lives and continue to get recognized and celebrated. In honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Minneapolis Convention Center hosted the 27th Annual Breakfast in honor of his legacy, presented by General Mills and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

Twin Cities notables present at the event included Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer and Betty McCullum, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. VocalEssence Twin Cities Youth Choir also performed with Melanie DeMore as the attendees ate breakfast.

This year, for the first time, the event was held as a fundraiser for the Minneapolis Chapter of the United Negro College Fund, assisting with scholarship funds for low-income students to attend college. In addition to Dr. King, Medger Evers, who was murdered by a White supremacist in 1963 in Mississippi, was also remembered by the keynote speech from his wife, author and civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams.

Attendees at the 27th Annual MLK Breakfast (Ivan B. Phifer/MSR News)

Evers-Williams continued her late husband’s work with her book, For Us, The Living. She also wrote Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be. Evers-Williams served as chair of the national NAACP from 1995 to 1998.

The theme of this year’s breakfast is based on the words of Dr. King: “The time is always right to do what is right.” At a time when the nation seems to be deeply divided over class and social justice issues, individuals from all ethnicities came to hear Mrs. Evers-Williams speak of not only America’s current situation, but also the similarities to America’s past.

(Below, watch coverage of the MLK breakfast in its entirety courtesy of

“The youth are crying for help,” she said. “I remember back in 1963, it was the youth in the South that came to the forefront to be a part of the change of the society. They were the ones who marched and were thrown in jail.”

She also spoke of the death of her husband: “My daughter had the sad experience of running to her dad as he lay on the doorstep. She kept saying, ‘Get up, Daddy.’

“The night before, he asked me, ‘Will you take care of your children?’” Evers-Williams said she knew exactly what he meant when he asked that question: “Not only our three children, but all the children in the state of Mississippi, in this nation. That is what each and every one of us should be about: nurturing, giving experience to those who come along.”

Evers-Williams will turn 84 in March of this year and plans on continuing her work as an activist. She encouraged everyone to embrace one another and to continue guiding the younger generation. “Don’t forget to embrace our youth who will take us forward, not backwards. Do not forget your right to vote and speak the truth, regardless if people like it or not.”


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