Navy Ship Named in Honor of Medgar Evers

Evers’s name will join the ranks of many other American heroes.

Posted: 11/14/2011 11:14 AM EST
Medgar Evers, civil rights, U.S. Navy

Despite the impending end of civil rights-era crime investigations, the country is still finding ways to venerate civil rights heroes.

In San Diego this weekend, the U.S. Navy named one of its new ships after slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. The cargo ship measures 689-feet and will deliver food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to Navy combat ships at sea.

Evers’s widow Myrlie Evers-Williams, attended the christening of the USNS Medgar Evers and commemorated the event with the traditional gesture of breaking a bottle of champagne against the ship’s hull. Nearly a thousand naval officials, politicians, local citizens and members of the NAACP attended the christening.

“In a real sense, he set us all free,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said at the event. “His life was a mighty blow against the chains of racism that bound us all for too, too long.”

Evers was a World War II veteran and Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP who was shot and killed outside of his home in 1963 by a white supremacist. Evers was known for his work organizing voter-registration efforts, demonstrations and economic boycotts of white-owned companies that practiced discrimination. Evers also fought to have crimes against Blacks investigated thoroughly by local law enforcement and famously advocated to bring the killers of Emmitt Till -- whose 1955 lynching helped galvanize the movemeent -- to justice.

(Photo: PRNewsFoto/General Dynamics NASSCO/Melissa Jacobs)