Tuesday, March 12, 2019
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi home of a slain civil rights leader is becoming a national monument.
President Donald Trump signed a bill Tuesday establishing the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument in Jackson.
Medgar Evers was Mississippi's first NAACP field secretary beginning in 1954. He led voter registration drives and boycotts to push for racial equality.
Evers was assassinated by a white supremacist outside his family's Jackson home on June 12, 1963.
Myrlie Evers was national chairwoman of the NAACP from 1995 to 1998.
The federal government will take over the modest ranch-style home from Tougaloo College, bringing money for preservation. The college has owned the home since 1993 and operates a modest museum. Tougaloo supports the change.
The National Park Service named the home a national historic landmark in 2016.
Earlier this week, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission issued a statement about the site become a national monument. Here is the release verbatim:
The Emmett Till Memorial Commission and Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till’s cousin, thank the Mississippi Congressional delegation and the White House for passing and signing legislation designating the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home as a National Monument.
“We are happy for Myrlie Evers Williams and the Evers family that the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home has received this long overdue recognition as a National Monument today,” said Wheeler Parker, a relative who was present for the events leading up to Emmett Till’s kidnapping and murder. “Our two families have been forever linked by tragedy, but also by shared struggle and hope in the ongoing cause of racial justice. We know that our nation’s official recognition of that cause will be incomplete without making our beloved Emmett and his mother, Mamie, part of this story, as well. We ask that our government take action on the Till historic sites so that everyone may learn about Emmett and the legacy he has left for all of us.”
“Till’s murder prompted Medgar Evers to investigate and assist in the prosecution of the white vigilantes responsible for the crime,” said Patrick Weems, Director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission. “As we celebrate today’s designation of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home, we encourage Mississippi’s Congressional Delegation and the President to continue the leadership they have demonstrated here by designating the historic sites associated with Emmett Till’s legacy for federal protection. These sites are nationally significant resources and are essential to scholarly study and popular understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.”
This story includes reporting from the Jackson Free Press.