2003 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representative Clark, West, Bailey, Banks, Broomfield, Clarke, Fleming, Harrison, Hines, Myers, Peranich, Thomas, Young, Perkins, Flaggs, Brown, Blackmon, Coleman (29th), Coleman (65th), Dickson, Ellis, Espy, Evans, Fredericks, Gibbs, Green, Henderson, Holloway, Huddleston, Middleton, Morris, Robinson (63rd), Scott (80th), Smith (27th), Straughter, Wallace, Watson

House Concurrent Resolution 94

(As Adopted by House)


     WHEREAS, a pioneer in the fight for racial justice, Medgar Wiley Evers was born July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi, to James and Jessie Evers; and

     WHEREAS, to faithfully serve his country, Medgar left high school to join the United States Army when World War II began and

after coming home to Mississippi, he completed high school and enrolled in Alcorn College, presently known as Alcorn State University, and majored in business administration; and

     WHEREAS, as a student at Alcorn, Medgar was a member of the debate team, the college choir, the football and track teams, the editor of the campus newspaper and the yearbook, and held several student offices which gained him recognition in Who's Who in American Colleges; and

     WHEREAS, while a junior at Alcorn, Medgar met a freshman named Myrlie Beasley, whom he married on December 24, 1951, and with whom he spent the remainder of his life; and

     WHEREAS, after receiving his bachelor of arts degree, Medgar and Myrlie moved to historic Mound Bayou, Mississippi, where Medgar became employed by Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company and soon began establishing local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) throughout the Delta; and

     WHEREAS, moved by the plight of Blacks in Mississippi and a desire to change the conditions, in 1954, after the United States Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional, Medgar became the first known Black person to apply for admission to the University of Mississippi Law School, yet was denied; and

     WHEREAS, as a result of this denial, Medgar contacted the NAACP to take legal action, but was offered a position as the Mississippi Field Secretary for the NAACP in 1954, which he accepted with Myrlie as his secretary; and

      WHEREAS, with Myrlie by his side, Medgar began a movement to register people to vote in Mississippi and as a result of his activities, Medgar received numerous threats; and

     WHEREAS, in spite of threats, Medgar persisted, with dedication and courage, to organize rallies, build NAACP membership and travel around the country with Myrlie to educate the public; and

     WHEREAS, Medgar's passion for quality education for all children led him to file suit against Jackson Public Schools which gained him national media coverage; and

     WHEREAS, Medgar organized students from Tougaloo and Campbell Colleges, coordinated and led protest marches, organized boycotts of Jackson businesses and sit-ins, challenged segregated bus seating and for these heroic efforts, he was arrested, beaten and jailed; and

     WHEREAS, the violence against Medgar came to a climax on June 12, 1963, when he was killed in front of his home; and

     WHEREAS, after the fingerprints of an outspoken segregationist were recovered from the scene of the shooting and two juries deadlocked without a conviction, Myrlie and her three children moved to Claremont, California, where she enrolled at Pomona College and earned her bachelor's degree in sociology in 1968; and

     WHEREAS, after Medgar's death, Myrlie began to create her own legacy and emerged as a national catalyst for justice and equality by becoming active in politics, becoming a founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, running for Congress in California's 24th District, serving as Commissioner of Public Works for Los Angeles, using her writing skills as a correspondent for Ladies Home Journal and the Paris Peace Talks, and rising to prominence as Director of Consumer Affairs for Atlantic Richfield Company; and

     WHEREAS, Myrlie Evers became Myrlie Evers-Williams when she married Walter Williams in 1976; and

     WHEREAS, in the 1990s, Myrlie convinced Mississippi prosecutors to reopen Medgar's murder case which led to the conviction and life imprisonment of Medgar's killer, and she

became the first female to chair the sixty-four-member Board of Directors of the NAACP to provide guidance to an organization that was dear to Medgar's heart; and

     WHEREAS, to enlighten the world to the struggles which plagued her life as the wife of an activist and empowered her to become a community leader, Myrlie has published her memoirs, Watch Me Fly:  What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be, and is widely known as a motivational lecturer and continues to speak out against discrimination and injustice; and

     WHEREAS, her latest endeavor has brought her home to Mississippi to make two remarkable contributions, the Evers Collection and the Medgar Evers Institute, which advance the knowledge and cause of social justice and which encompass the many lessons in the life's work of Medgar and Myrlie Evers; and

     WHEREAS, Myrlie has presented these extraordinary papers to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History where they are being preserved and catalogued; and

     WHEREAS, it is the policy of the Legislature to recognize and pay tribute to the lives and accomplishments of extraordinary Mississippians such as Medgar Evers and Myrlie Evers-Williams whose life sacrifices have contributed to the betterment of the citizens of Mississippi as well as the United States of America:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the life and accomplishments of Medgar Wiley Evers and his widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams, and express our greatest respect and gratitude.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the family of Medgar Evers and Myrlie Evers-Williams and the Capitol Press Corps.