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Medgar Wiley Evers: Alcorn will always remember you

Memorial service honors legacy of Alcorn alum  

Alcorn State, Miss. (January 22, 2013) –Fifty years after the assassination of Medgar Wiley Evers ’52, Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown II, university officials, students, and alumni gathered at Arlington National Cemetery at Evers’ graveside on Sunday, January 20, to honor him.

During the memorial, President Brown’s tribute to Evers was a clear reflection of his great sacrifice, not just for his wife {Myrlie Evers} and the family he left behind, but for all Americans. “As long as I live,” said President Brown. “Your footprints will be hallowed beneath the shade of giant trees. We shall not allow your living to fade as dead lighting bugs fanned by a balmy southern breeze.”

Brown continued, “We pause during this inaugural celebration, to remember you. Although, many have forgotten your name – Alcorn will always speak for you. And call you to life again – Medgar Wiley Evers.”

While a student at Alcorn, Evers was known as hard working and dedicated to many activities, including serving as editor of the campus newspaper and an athlete on the football and track teams.

Classmate Dr. Alpha Morris ’52, professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Social Sciences, reminisces about Evers. “Since Medgar, I have not met an individual as dedicated to his or her calling in life. I often encourage my students to emulate him. Try to live like Medgar, I know he would be proud if they did.”

Mrs. Evers speaks proudly of her slain husband, describing him as a man who loved what was then Alcorn A&M, but as a student he irritated some teachers and students by constantly stressing the need to register to vote. He did not want to die, but gave his all to the fight.

Mrs. Evers was in Washington, D.C. to deliver the prayer during President Barack Obama's inauguration. Her stop at the graveside memorial came in the midst of a nonstop schedule of national and international interviews.

“I'm tired, but it is worth every bit of it,” she said. “Alcorn loves Medgar and this memorial is special. I thank them for always remembering him.”

Asked about Evers, students often speak with pride about having an alumnus who fought so passionately for civil rights.

Rica Mitchell, a 21-year-old from Chicago and sociology major, has spent personal time learning more about Evers. In addition to reading about his life, she's talked with Dr. Morris who knew Evers when he was an eager student at Alcorn. Mitchell also finds inspiration in Mrs. Evers’ life.

“You have to be a strong woman to trust your husband, doing the things he was doing,” Mitchell said, praising Evers for raising her children after her husband died.

“I deeply admire her and her strength,” Mitchell said.

Alcorn will dedicate the nation's largest statue of Medgar Wiley Evers on its Lorman campus in early March in tribute to a distinguished alumnus who improved American society. For details, call (601) 877-6693.

-ALCORN-

Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally-competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships which benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation and world.