"You can kill a man but you can't kill an idea":
Remembering the sacrifice of Medgar Wiley Evers
On June 12, 1963, Medgar Wiley Evers, the civil rights leader and NAACP field secretary was assassinated in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi home. Only 37 years old, he left behind a wife and three children. He was shot down by a white supremacist and Klansman who was convicted of the crime more than 30 years later. The assassination roused the conscience of a nation and helped pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The College’s June 8, 2017 commencement was a poignant moment to shed a fresh light on Evers’ legacy, which was invoked by keynote speaker Hillary Rodham Clinton. She shared the stage with a pre-recorded video from Myrlie Evers-Williams and with Reena Evers-Everett and Daniel Evers-Everette (respectively Evers’ widow, daughter and grandson). The family spoke of Evers and the continuing struggle.
Evers’ profile in the popular culture has been heightened during this period of resurgent equality battles. Along with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, his legacy was highlighted in “I Am Not Your Negro,” the acclaimed Raoul Peck film about James Baldwin.
Medgar Wiley Evers accomplished much in the short time he was with us: he increased NAACP membership; aided in the investigation of the murder of Emmett Till; and helped desegregate the University of Mississippi, among other things. Let us pause today to recall the ultimate sacrifice that he made.