When her husband became the Mississippi field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Evers-Williams worked alongside him. She assisted him as he strove to end the unjust practice of racial segregation in schools and other public facilities and campaigned for voting rights as many African Americans were denied this right in the South. Medgar made enemies of those who didn’t want race relations in the South to change. On June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers was shot to death in front of his home by a white supremacist named Byron De La Beckwith.
Besides her quest for justice, Evers-Williams rebuilt her life after her husband’s death. She moved with her children to California and emerged as a civil rights activist in her own right. Evers-Williams spoke on behalf of the NAACP and wrote For Us, the Living, which chronicled her late husband’s life and works in 1967. She also made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Congress in 1970.
As chairperson of the NAACP, Evers-Williams worked to restore the tarnished image of the organization. She also helped improve its financial status, raising enough funds to eliminate its debt. Evers-Williams received many honors for her work, including being named Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine. With the organization financially stable, she decided to not seek re-election as chairperson in 1998.
Evers-Williams has continued to preserve the memory of her first husband with one of her latest projects. She served as editor on The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: A Hero’s Life and Legacy Revealed Through His Writings, Letters, and Speeches (2005).