Miss. Senators Championed Efforts to Make Jackson Civil Rights Landmark Part of the National Park System
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., today commended Senate passage of S. 47, “the Natural Resources Management Act,” which included a proposal authored by the senators to designate the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home in Jackson as a national monument within the National Park System.
“With this vote, the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home are one step closer to getting the national recognition and protection it deserves,” Wicker said. “I am hopeful Congress will send this legislation to the President’s desk without delay.”
“The Medgar and Myrlie Evers home have been integral in telling the story of this family’s pursuit of equality and justice during the civil rights movement. I look forward to the House of Representatives embracing this effort to honor the Evers and their work as part of Black History Month,” Hyde-Smith said.
Wicker and Hyde-Smith reintroduced their legislation in January in an effort to bring additional federal resources to the site. The national monument designation is reserved for sites of great cultural, historical, or natural significance to the United States. It provides permanent protection by Congress under the Antiquities Act.
The Evers home, acquired by Tougaloo College in 1993 and labeled a museum in 1997, is currently a designated Mississippi landmark under the State Antiquity Law and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Medgar Evers House
The Medgar Evers House is a historic house museum at 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive in Jackson, Mississippi. Built in 1956, it was the home of African-American civil rights activist Medgar Evers (1925-1963) at the time of his assassination. Now owned by Tougaloo College, the restored house is open for tours by appointment. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2017.
The house was purchased new by Medgar and Myrlie Evers in 1956 and remained their home until 1963. The Everses were both active civil rights activists and had for some time been specific targets of racist violence. They chose this house in part for features that improved its security: it was not on a corner lot, and its entrance under the carport provided better cover than a front door would. On May 28, 1963, a Molotov cocktail was thrown onto the carport. On June 11, 1963, Evers attended a meeting of civil rights groups in Jackson to formulate a response to actions taken by George Wallace, then Governor of Alabama, to prevent African-Americans from enrolling at the University of Alabama. Arriving home around midnight, Evers, standing in the carport, was shot by Byron de la Beckwith, using a sniper rifle from an undeveloped lot about 200 feet (61 m) away. The bullet passed through the house’s picture window, and through the wall between the living room and kitchen before coming to rest. Evers died early the next morning.
Myrlie Evers moved to California in 1964, continuing the civil rights crusade. She maintained ownership of the house for thirty years, using it as a rental property. She donated the property to Tougaloo College in 1993. The house underwent repairs and stabilization in 1995-96 and was restored to its appearance during the Evers residency in 2013.
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