Medgar Wiley Evers receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Medgar Wiley Evers

JANS – On May 3, 2024, President Joseph R. Biden honored World War II veteran, civil rights leader, and native Mississippian Medgar Wiley Evers with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Last fall, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, along with the entire Mississippi Congressional Delegation, urged the president to posthumously honor Evers.

“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a testament to Medgar Wiley Evers’ enduring impact on not only Mississippi but also the nation. Over sixty years after his death, his tireless pursuit of equality for African Americans in our state continues to resonate throughout generations. As someone deeply influenced by his legacy, I am honored to witness this recognition. I extend my gratitude to President Biden for acknowledging Medgar Wiley Evers’ pivotal role in our history and bestowing upon him this well-deserved honor,” Congressman Thompson said.

Medgar Wiley Evers was born in Decatur, Mississippi. He served in the United States Army during World War II. After his military service, he attended Alcorn State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. After college, he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Mississippi, where he recruited volunteers, led demonstrations, and organized voter registration drives. Evers was appointed as Mississippi’s first field secretary for the NAACP. Evers was assassinated on June 12, 1963, in Jackson, Mississippi.

“Receiving this medal honors not only my father’s legacy but also his belief in the potential for America to grow stronger and more just. My father taught us that courage was about standing up despite fear; his entire life exemplified this philosophy,” said Reena Evers-Everette, daughter of Medgar & Myrlie Evers. “My brother James Van Dyke Evers and I know, if my father  were here with us today, he would take this moment to tell every one of us that we must not stop. We must vigorously continue the fight to be the America my father believed we deserved. Rededicate ourselves to empower and educate the current and future generations to organize for justice, peace, and equality.”

Medgar Wiley Evers devoted his life to advancing civil rights in Mississippi and the United States. His efforts to promote racial justice and equality live through generations of Mississippians.

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Medgar Wiley Evers receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

By Jackson Advocate News Service
May 13, 2024