Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Medgar Wiley Evers
Today we celebrate the legacy of Medgar Wiley Evers, who was born on July 2, 1925. We commemorate his lasting contributions as a civil rights leader, the first field secretary of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, father, husband, World War II veteran, and our College’s namesake.
Nearly six decades after his assassination, we are acutely aware that the ideals Medgar Evers fought to uphold, and for which he ultimately sacrificed his life, still elude us as a society but are nevertheless within reach. Even as we emerge from the last year marred by a pandemic that continues to disproportionately impact communities of color, in addition to civil unrest, voter suppression, and continued police brutality, we are steadfast in our faith that there remains the promise of a better tomorrow. In the words of Medgar Wiley Evers, “History has reached a turning point, here and all over the world.”
Medgar Evers’ birthday serves as a reminder that our collective work is not done. As students, educators and higher education leaders, we profoundly recognize the transformative power of education. In fact, it was after Medgar Evers was prevented from enrolling in the University of Mississippi’s School of Law due to racial discrimination that he was inspired to join the NAACP. Only when we understand our history can we make substantial progress towards our future.
Medgar Evers’ birthday is also an opportunity to reflect on the mission upon which our institution was founded and, by extension, our individual commitment to cultivating positive social change, civic engagement, as well as social and economic justice. Let us each continue to honor the legacy of Medgar Wiley Evers by building the kind, compassionate, and equitable world that he envisioned.