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Legendary civil rights leader gives powerful speech in Minnesota for MLK Day

Her message was about justice and equality.
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A legendary civil rights leader was in Minnesota on Monday morning to give an important speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Myrlie Evers-Williams was this year's keynote speaker at the 27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. She's the widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, who was assassinated in front of his Mississippi home in 1963.

At the ceremony Monday, Evers-Williams spoke to a room of 2,000 Minnesotans, including state leaders like Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

Her message was about Dr. King's legacy of fighting for justice and equality, and the future of the United States. Throughout her speech, Evers-Williams encouraged the audience to continue to advocate for civil rights.

"We are challenged today, as we have never been challenged before. We see people, you and others throughout this country, saying that we believe in justice in equality for everyone. As long as that spirit stays with us, then we're going to be alright," she said.

Evers-Williams is also an author and an activist in her own right, picking up where her husband left off. According to her biography, after Evers was murdered, she fought to bring his killer to justice after two all-white juries couldn't reach a verdict in the case.

She worked to keep the case alive for 30 years, until white-supremacist Byron De La Beckwith was finally convicted in the early 1990s. She also became a leader in the NAACP, founded the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, and published two books about her powerful story.

The entire event is available to stream from TPT.org below - Evers-Williams' speech begins around the 1:31 mark.

What is the MLK Holiday Breakfast?

According to the website, the MLK Holiday Breakfast started in 1991 as "an opportunity to celebrate Dr. King's legacy of service and be inspired to live out his dream today in our homes, the community and throughout the world."

The General Mills Foundation helped organize this year's event, and proceeds from the benefit are going to the Minneapolis chapter of the United Negro College Fund, which gives four year scholarships to low-income students so that they may have access to a college degree.

The Star Tribune says the annual breakfast in Minneapolis is one of the biggest MLK events in the country, with this year's event raising $130,000 for the scholarship fund.

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