Myrlie Evers brings message of peace, justice and dialogue to Millsaps

April 17, 2013 in Education, News, Statewide News

Special to The Mississippi Link

JACKSON – Civil rights icon Myrlie Evers filled the Robert and Dee Leggett Special Events Center in the A. Boyd Campbell College Center on Friday. April 5 for the 2013 Rabbi Perry Nussbaum Lecture Series, urging students to embrace and recognize the history of social justice at Millsaps College, while remembering her past in the capital city.

“Millsaps has stood tall since the very beginning of (civil rights) dialogue sessions in Mississippi,” she said. “For those of you that are students here, enjoy each and every moment and take in all the knowledge that is provided to you.”

(l to r) Dean Dr. S. Keith Dunn, Myrlie Evers, student Chelsea Wright, and Dr. Rob Pearigen pose after the Nussbaum Lecture. (Photo courtesy of Millsaps College)

The lecture series, which is dedicated to men and women who have stood against racial bigotry and religious prejudice, was endowed by Dr. John D. Bower, a renal pioneer, in 2008 in honor of Nussbaum, rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson from 1954 until 1974.

Remembering her years in Jackson, Evers reflected on her husband’s murder and the legacy he left for others after him. “The 50th anniversary of Medgar’s assassination will take place on June 12. I can hardly believe it’s been 50 years,” she said. “But, I look and I see changes and I realize a price had to be paid, not just by him but also by so many people to move us forward to where we are. Where we can have dialogue with each other and not be afraid that our differences will keep us from communicating.”

Evers is perhaps best known as the widow of Medgar Evers, the Mississippi state field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People who in 1963 was gunned down in the driveway of his home in Jackson. She waged a painstaking battle to keep her husband’s memory and dreams alive and valiantly lobbied to bring his killer to justice. Her diligence eventually paid off when the assassin was brought to trial for a third time and finally, in 1994, was found guilty of the murder of Medgar Evers, more than 30 years after the crime.