Myrlie Evers-Williams Tells Audience Not To Forget Civil Rights Activists’ SacrificesBy Sandra Knispel | Published 04 Mar 2012 10:21pm |
Myrlie Evers-Williams is calling on African American students not to forget the sacrifices of civil rights activists. On Friday, she spoke at the University of Mississippi. MPB’s Sandra Knispel has more.
Myrlie Evers-Williams is not just the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, she’s also an author and civil rights activist in her own right. Returning to Ole Miss, she says, always instills in her a sense of history… one where her public and personal lives converge.
“For those of you who may not know, my late husband Medgar Evers was the first, or perhaps I should say the first know, African American to apply for admission to this university. Yes, that was before James Meredith.”
The nearly 79-year old urged her audience to make sure the meaning and sacrifices of the civil rights struggle were not forgotten. Addressing black students and alumni at UM's Fulton Chapel directly she implored them to remember on whose shoulders they were standing.
“I am not sure that they understand all that was given to open up this campus to them. That they are not here because of their brilliance… that they are not here because of their beauty. They are here first because people paid a tremendous price to open the doors for you to enjoy! [applause]."
Fifty years ago, James Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
“This year is a time for us to say to those who were affected by the injustice 50 years ago and before, related to this date and this university’s laws and customs, to express regret, to express apology," UM Chancellor Dr. Dan Jones told the audience. "To say to those you were disadvantaged that we must look back at that period of time with deep regret."
The University has just begun its year-long commemoration of its integration, bringing to campus surviving leading figures of the civil rights movement.
Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.
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