Alcorn students to honor Medgar Wiley Evers at Arlington National Cemetery

Alcorn students to honor Medgar Wiley Evers at Arlington National Cemetery

Alcorn State, Miss. (January 17, 2013) – Fourteen Alcorn students have been selected to witness the nation’s government in action and attend the quadrennial presidential inauguration January 17-22, 2013. Their trip will include participating in community service projects during “A National Day of Service” and a Wreath Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the life and legacy of Alcornite Medgar Wiley Evers ’52.

The trip is part of the Alcorn experience “outside the classroom,” says Vice President for Student Affairs E. Cheryl Ponder. “Thanks to the generosity of the ASU Foundation our students will get an up close and personal look at democracy in action as they visit historic locations, museums and attend President Obama’s inauguration.” The students selected wrote essays and participated in an interview selection process.

While traveling to D.C., students will discuss the media’s impact on the political process, the results of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections and the importance of the president’s relationship with congress, among other topics. After this opportunity to witness history, students will be required to demonstrate their learning outcomes when they return to campus through various written assignments and oral presentations.

Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown II will make remarks at the graveside ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. “Banners of Medgar Evers line the new student housing complex named in his honor,” says President Brown. “It will be a providential moment to stand with Mrs. Evers and other Washington officials for the solemn act of honoring an Alcornite who died in a selfless effort to render public service. Whatever words I offer will sound hallow in the face of an unarmed young man who was assassinated in the fight for social justice and civic participation.”

Last year, Alcorn’s Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence Myrlie Evers gave a public lecture to a standing room packed with students, faculty, staff, and community members to offer unpublished details about Medgar Evers’ passion for equality and civil rights. “Thanks to Mrs. Evers and her husband’s life and legacy, I voted in my first election in November. I had to register to vote—you cannot hear the story of Medgar Evers attending Alcorn dances and events only to encourage his classmates to take a stand, take action and register to vote—without standing up, taking action and registering to vote,” says senior Andre Marshall of Jackson, Mississippi.

Airnecia Mills, 20, of Greenville, Mississippi, said she is humbled to have the opportunity to honor Medgar. “Despite her influence on our nation, Mrs. Evers came home to educate and mentor us {Alcorn students}. She is living history and her honesty, life’s struggles and triumphs have inspired our Alcorn family, especially the student body.”

Other students traveling to the nation’s capital include Luther Bolin, Frederick Brown, Essence Henderson, Stedman Hurdle, Zackeus Johnson, Marquita McBeth, Rica Mictchell, Demetreia Payne, Dominique Payne, Marquis Pierce, Tyranny Riddle, and Sabrina Smith.

The students have tickets to attend the inauguration at the U.S. Capitol on January 21. “I have toured Washington before,” said Marcus Mercy, a senior vocal performance major. “But this will be my first time to ever witness a presidential oath of office being administered in person. I am full of enthusiasm and looking forward to this trip.”

The 20th Amendment requires the president to be sworn in on Jan. 20. Because that date falls on a Sunday this year, President Obama will be sworn in during a private ceremony. The public ceremony will be Jan. 21 and coincide with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The last president to be sworn in a day late because Jan. 20 was on a Sunday was Ronald Reagan in 1985.

On January 21, plans are being finalized for an on-campus viewing party of the 57th presidential inauguration in the James L. Bolden Student Union Ballroom. For details, contact Student Affairs at 601.877.6382.


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.