Myrlie Evers-Williams Named Scholar-in-Residence at Alcorn State University

Widow of civil rights leader Medgar Evers to take up new duties at the historically-Black college in Mississippi.

Posted: 02/10/2012 02:34 PM EST
civil rights movement, Mississippi, NAACP, Medgar Evers, Alcorn State University

Myrlie Evers-Williams, the civil rights activist and widow of Medgar Evers, has been appointed as a scholar-in-residence at Alcorn State University in Mississippi.

Evers-Williams is herself a product of Alcorn. It was there as a student in 1950 that she met her future husband. The couple married a year later and he would go on to become the field director for the NAACP in the state of Mississippi.

In the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Medgar Evers became one of the most prominent leaders in the South. He was killed by an assassin in 1963 in the driveway of his home.

For the next 30 years, Myrlie Evers-Williams fought during three trials to bring her husband’s killer to justice, which occurred with the 1994 conviction of Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan member.

Over those years, she returned to school and earned a bachelor’s degree at Pomona College in California. She also ran twice for congress, unsuccessfully, in a district in California.

But she had remained involved in civil rights activity and for preserving her husband's legacy. She became the co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus as well as chairwoman of the board of directors of the NAACP. She has published several books on topics related to the civil rights movement and the legacy of Medgar Evers. Evers-Williams also established the Medgar Evers Institute in Jackson, Mississippi.

At Alcorn State, Evers-Williams will teach in the department of social sciences and develop a research center focused on social justice and civic engagement. She will also work on organizing her papers for donation to the university’s archives.

“My relationship with Alcorn State University is at the core of who I am,” Evers-Williams said, in a statement. “I met and married my husband on the Alcorn campus. It means so much to me now to be able to continue our work.”

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