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NAACP Head Won’t Run Again

February 10, 1998

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Myrlie Evers-Williams said Tuesday she will not run for re-election as chairwoman of the NAACP board.

Evers-Williams said instead she wants to establish an institute named for her husband, civil rights leader Medgar Evers, who was assassinated in the driveway of his Jackson, Miss., home in June 1963.

``Since my late husband Medgar’s death, I have been committed to seeing that his legacy and proper place in history are maintained,″ she said. ``It is time for me to once again devote my energies to that task.″

Evers-Williams was elected chairwoman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in February 1995, at a time when the nation’s oldest civil rights group was foundering.

The NAACP was mired in a $4 million debt and its executive director, the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, had been fired for committing $332,000 of NAACP money to quiet sexual harassment claims of a female employee.

Morale inside the organization was low, while outside, people were questioning whether the NAACP was still relevant.

Evers-Williams said she believes she has completed her promise to restore the credibility of the NAACP.

``I believe my mission was to lead our organization out of the financial, moral and organizational morass in which we found ourselves,″ she said in a letter to the board. ``The NAACP is now solvent, public confidence has been restored and our commitment to equality of opportunity for all Americans is unquestioned.″

Evers-Williams will remain a member of the board of directors through February 1999. Her replacement will be voted on Feb. 21 when the NAACP holds its annual meeting in New York.

Kweisi Mfume, the NAACP’s president and chief executive officer, said he expects a lot of lobbying for Evers-Williams’ job between now and Feb. 21.

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