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Black History Month with RCEC: Myrlie Evers by Erion Wilson

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Myrlie Evers

Students with River City Early College have taken on an extra credit project this month and are sharing their Black History Month inspirations with the community.

The following was submitted by RCEC student Erion Wilson:

Myrlie Evers

Do you know Medgar Evers? I bet you do, but have you heard the story of Myrlie Evers?

Myrlie Evers was born on March 17, 1933, and the wife of Medger Evers, whom she met in 1950 at Alcorn A&M College. Myrlie was and still is an activist fighting for equality for African-Americans in the United States. Myrlie and her husband opened and managed the first National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Mississippi.

Myrlie and Medgar were high-profile targets for racist hate crimes because of their civil rights activism. Their involvement in the investigations of lynchings and their organization of boycotts caused their racist detractors to make multiple attempts on their life. Then, in 1963, Myrlie’s husband, Medgar Evers, was murdered by desegregationist and KKK member Byron De La Beckwith. Myrlie wouldn’t see justice for her husband until three decades later, in 1994, after Beckwith was tried for Medgar’s murder three times. However, Myrlie didn’t let her husband’s death slow her down in her crusade for parity.

Myrlie would go on to write two books. First, she wrote a memoir in memory of her husband’s life named For Us, the Living Then. Then, Myrlie would write Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be.

Aside from writing, In 1987, Myrlie was appointed commissioner to the Board of Public Works in Los Angeles, becoming the first black woman to do so. Two years later, Myrlie established the Medgar Evers Institute (later named the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute) so she could preserve her husband’s work. Myrlie was the first woman to head the NAACP from 1995-98. The same year she left her position and was named Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine. Ebony Magazine also named Myrlie one of the “100 Most Fascinating Black Women of the 20th Century.” In January 2013, Myrlie gave the invocation at former President Obama’s second inauguration becoming the first woman and non-clergy member to perform the prayer.

Lastly, in her lifetime Myrlie received seven honorary doctorates, and you know where Myrlie came from? Do you know where her life began and her story started to be written? Vicksburg, Mississippi.

About the Author

Erion Wilson

Erion Wilson

Erion Wilson is a 9th grader at River City Early College High School. During his time as a Vicksburg-Warren School District student he has attended Warrenton Elementary, South Park Elementary, Academy of Innovation, and now is a cougar at RCEC.

Erion finds his interest in writing, mental health, medicine, science, and math. A major source of inspiration is his mother Lakendria Tucker.

After graduating in 2026 Erion plans to attend the University of Chicago and major in biology.

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