Honoring the life and legacy of Medgar Wiley Evers, 60 years after his assassination
In 2023, it will have been 60 years since Medgar Evers’ tragic assassination at his home in Jackson. He and his wife, Myrlie, are widely regarded as two pioneers of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and early 1960s. From the beginning, Myrlie Evers worked alongside her husband and continued to build upon what they had started together after his death. All these years later, his daughter, Reena Evers-Everette, is keeping their mission alive.
Throughout 2023, with special 60th-anniversary commemorative events held on June 5 through 11, the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute is hosting multiple opportunities to celebrate and reflect.
"We’re going to honor both of my parents, Medgar and Myrlie Evers, but we’re also going to highlight so many other voices of justice and current courageous warriors,” Reena said. “We’re going to go into what [the Institute] has done and wants to continue to do in championing my parents’ values, which were about empowerment, equality, and justice for all.”
Through events like panels, lecture series, music, book festivals, films, walking tours, and partnerships with local businesses, nonprofits, and colleges, Reena hopes to create Reena hopes to create space for discussions. Those discussions will address not only injustices from 400 years ago but 60 years ago to today, spurring meaningful change for the future.
“It’s bringing a lot of history into play, making it present again, and addressing why we are still doing what we’re doing. Why is it a vicious cycle? And is it only because history is not known that we are repeating it?” Reena said. “We want to have occasions to lay out history, and more importantly, truth, fully on all sides and be able to address it in working towards positive social change for everyone.”
The events will touch on people and places that have made a marked difference in helping to close the gap of disparities in education, health care, women’s rights, criminal justice, trauma work, and more. “It’s not just my story. It’s your story. It’s everybody’s story,” Reena said. “Empowerment is for everyone. We’re excited to bring to the table some fellow Mississippians and non-Mississippians. We’re not just focusing on ourselves but on the world. Because this world is small.” Reena notes that other than California, her father vowed he would never leave Mississippi because of his love for its people.
“I want it to be impactful in the way that it shows off our community, where visitors can come in and see that it’s at the heart of everything we do,” Reena said. “At the end of the day, it’s about helping each other. I’m hoping we can show the goodness of Mississippi.”