Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, will deliver the invocation at President Barack Obama's second public inauguration on Jan. 21, event organizers announced Tuesday.
Evers-Williams, 79, will reportedly be the first woman and non-clergy member to deliver one of the most public prayers in America's political history.
"I am humbled to have been asked to deliver the invocation for the 57th inauguration of the President of the United States -- especially in light of this historical time in America when we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement," Evers-Williams said in a statement released by the Presidential Inauguration Committee.
"It is indeed an exhilarating experience to have the distinct honor of representing that era," she added.
President Obama will be officially sworn in to his second term in office on Jan. 20 in a private ceremony, and the public ceremony including the invocation and benediction will take place on Jan. 21, on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Evers-Williams' prayer will come at the beginning of the Jan. 21 inauguration ceremony, while evangelical pastor Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion movement, which teaches students about human trafficking, will deliver the benediction.
According to The Washington Post, the inaugural committee released a statement saying that Obama chose to have Evers-Williams and Giglio speak because their careers "reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans -- justice, equality and opportunity."
Evers-Williams, a civil rights activist in her own right, served as the chairwoman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1995 to 1998, and founded the Medgar Evers Institute in Jackson, Miss.
Evers-Williams is currently a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Medgar Evers, who was assassinated in June 1963 by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens' Council.
Evers worked to end segregation at the University of Mississippi and was appoint as the state's first NAACP field secretary in 1954.
As observers have noted, Obama's choice of Evers-Williams to deliver the invocation proves to be a unique move away from the traditional choice of a clergy member.
For example, in 2009, well-known evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California delivered the invocation at Obama's first inauguration ceremony, in what ABC News described as "inclusive but deeply religious."
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