CUNY Schools to Lower Flags to Half-Staff Tomorrow to Honor Medgar Evers on the 50th Anniversary of His Assassination

June 11, 2013 | Medgar Evers College

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Medgar Evers College to Kick Off a Tribute on June 12 with a Short Film and  Community Discussion on the Life of Medgar Evers

Brooklyn, NY – In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the June 12, 1963 assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, the City University of New York has directed that flags on all CUNY campuses be lowered to half-staff tomorrow, June 12, and that each campus engage in appropriate educational activities to commemorate his legacy.

In honor of his life and selfless work, Medgar Evers College is planning a year-long series of events to kick off on June 12 with a short film featuring interviews with Medgar’s widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams, brother Charles, and Mississippi Martyr author and University of Mississippi Professor Michael Vinson Williams.

The film will be followed by a community conversation which will be led by Colia L. Liddell Clark, who worked as Medgar’s Special Assistant when he served as NAACP Field Secretary. Clark was a student at Tougaloo College, an historically black college in Tougaloo, Mississippi, when she became involved with the Civil Rights movement.  Under the guidance of Medgar and John Salter, a white professor from Tougaloo College, she founded the North Jackson NAACP Youth Council, and was very involved with voter registration efforts.

On June 11, 1963, just hours before Medgar Evers was murdered, President Kennedy gave a nationally televised speech in support of civil rights. Medgar returned to his home after viewing the speech with NAACP colleagues and was shot in the back as he stepped out of his car in the driveway to enter his house. His assassination unquestionably set the stage for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which President Lyndon Baines Johnson pushed through Congress.

“It is significant to reflect back on 1963, when the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans – for all Americans – was at center stage,” said CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “It is even more significant for us to ensure that today’s students – some of whom might not have been able to enjoy the benefit and promise of a college education had it not been for the sacrifices made by heroes like Medgar Evers – understand his legacy.”

“Time has not diminished the impact or influence of the Medgar Evers legacy, or the influence of his life on our college, or in this country. The struggle for human rights and equal opportunity still continues in this community and around the globe,” said President William L. Pollard. “For these reasons and others, Medgar Evers remains a powerful symbol of unflinching courage, personal sacrifice and dedication. His work can never be forgotten. I am so proud that the mission and spirit of this college remain a vibrant extension of his community consciousness and ideals.”

“I am honored that Medgar’s life and his contributions to our country will be acknowledged in such a special way,” said Mrs. Myrlie Evers. “We must remember that the American flag signifies equality for everyone – and that is what Medgar fought for. Our family is grateful to the City University of New York for this special recognition and we look forward to working closely with Medgar Evers college to share more about Medgar, his life, and his legacy.”

The City University of New York has long recognized Medgar Evers’ significant contributions to civil rights and human dignity. In 1970, the University named a new senior college, Medgar Evers College, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn in his honor. At the naming ceremony, his widow, Myrlie Evers, received a scroll that cited his “effective contribution to the cause of human freedom and dignity… In choosing the name Medgar Evers, it is our hope that his ideals will inspire students and faculty of the college in their pursuit of truth as the surest path to human freedom and social justice.”

Throughout the year, the College will host a series of events that will include visits from, but not limited to, author Michael Vinson Williams, Charles Evers, Reena Evers-Everett as well as Mrs. Myrlie Evers, book signings, discussions and film screenings of movies that focused on Medgar’s life. The June 12 event begins at 5:30p.m., and will be held at the Medgar Evers College campus at 1638 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn – (AB1 Building) in the EOJ Auditorium.

About Medgar Evers College

Medgar Evers College, a senior college within The City University of New York, was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community.  With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, the College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education. This year on June 12, 2013, the College will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers who was killed as he returned home from his job as field secretary with the NAACP.

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Contact:          Dawn S. Walker         (718) 530-4539