JACKSON, Miss. – The nation’s oldest civil rights organization marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of one of its most well-known martyrs, laying a wreath at the Medgar Evers Home Museum.
Members of the National NAACP Board of Directors took a break from their annual meeting in Jackson to pay tribute to him. His widow Myrlie Evers-Williams was among those who spoke at the commemoration.
Evers served as field secretary of the Mississippi NAACP and his assassination helped stoke the opposition against state sponsored segregation in the South.
The commemoration included additional events to honor his legacy, including a tribute concert and a civil rights bus tour of Jackson.
“On this hallowed occasion, we honor Medgar Evers and the sacrifice he made to advance civil rights,” NAACP Chairwoman Roslyn M. Brock said. “Even knowing how dangerous his work was, he was willing to risk his life in the name of social justice. Fifty years later, there is no better way to celebrate his life than to return to the town where he lived, worked and changed the world.”
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said Evers’ work and sacrifice “has called generations of civil rights activists to action,” adding, “We can best honor his legacy as a fearless freedom fighter by continuing his work to end discrimination and ensure equality for all.”
Meanwhile, the NAACP will open its four-day ninth annual Leadership 500 Summit starting this Thursday in Naples. The theme is “Leadership is Not a Title, It is an Action!”
The summit is the brainchild of Brock, the youngest woman to chair the NAACP.
“Leadership is not something you are given; it is something you earn and something you learn,” Brock said. “The Leadership 500 Conference offers current and aspiring leaders the chance to connect with peers who share their passion for social justice. We will bring together politicians, teachers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and business leaders who all have one thing in common: a dedication to civil and human rights in their personal lives and in their careers.”
Participants will attend two and a half days of workshops, interactive panel discussions and general sessions. A Town Hall meeting titled “Twenty First Century Black Women” will address issues affecting women of color, ranging from employment and gender equality to trafficking and indentured servitude. Other workshops will cover criminal justice, health, media, entrepreneurship, and other issues.