Pomona College will hold the archival collection of alumna and civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams. The collection will be handled by The Claremont Colleges Library.
“I don’t want to get too emotional,” said Evers-Williams, who graduated in 1968 with a degree in sociology. drowning… And it was my being here in Pomona with the instructors here and the other people who didn’t suffocate me. They gave me space. But they surrounded me with love, understanding and saying, ‘Yes, you can’.”
After Evers-Williams’ husband, NAACP official Medgar Evers, was killed in Mississippi by white supremacism in 1963, the widow moved to Claremont, California, and enrolled at Pomona. She went on to run for Congress; help start the National Women’s Political Committee; hold civic roles in Los Angeles; to obtain the conviction of her husband’s murderer; being elected president of the NAACP in 1995; Be the first woman and the first lay person to deliver the 2012 Presidential Inauguration Invocation.
Now, Evers-Williams – approaching 90 years old – has donated her collection, which includes items that offer insight into the civil rights era, such as photographs of US presidents, campaign materials and congressional transcripts, to her alma mater.
“Mrs. Evers-Williams led in many ways through her perseverance, faith and unwavering commitment to cause,” said Pomona President Dr. G. Gabrielle Starr. “The Academy will use this collection to educate and encourage others to move forward on the path she created so much. We are honored to be entrusted with her extraordinary legacy of brilliance, strength and — yes — love.”
Pomona plans to eventually open the collection to the public.
“I’m grateful for my life, including all the hardships,” said Evers-Williams, who will be 90 in March. “I learned so much. I learned tolerance. I learned love, real love for people. I learned how to get knocked down and get back up without blaming anyone.”